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Viral Evolution

December 3, 2014

The most successful viruses learn to live silently inside their living hosts.

Think herpes cold sores, which pop up every once in a while, then draw back into hiding.
HIV, a variant of the simian immunodeficiency virus, which doesn’t kill its host, was an incidental infection in humans. This often means high lethality, and full blown disease. Ebola is a relatively new, or “emerging” virus, and certain strains are capable of killing up to 90% of the unfortunate people that it infects. The natural host of this virus is believed to be bats.  No one really knows how long it takes for a virus to adapt and begin to lose its brutality and gain balance with its host, or how that process happens.

I was involved with HIV research in the late 1980’s, early 1990’s. When we first discussed that this process would happen eventually with HIV, I honestly never thought I would see it in my lifetime. It’s so nice to see my proven wrong, particularly in light of the fact that there is as of yet no vaccine for either HIV or Ebola virus.



From → HIV, Technology, Vaccine

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