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Zombie Apocalypse: The coronavirus isn’t alive. That’s why it’s so hard to kill

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  • Zombie Apocalypse: The coronavirus isn’t alive. That’s why it’s so hard to kill

    Okay, consider the Zombie-Apocalypse as a joke using hyperbolism, but the rest of the title is close to the truth and the article is still very interesting and discusses the chemistry and biology behind this virus and the implications for creating a vaccine. It is free to the general public (courtesy of the "socialist' Wa Po), so you can read all of it even if you do not have a subscription.

    Some interesting quotes

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/healt...-so-hard-kill/

    Respiratory viruses tend to infect and replicate in two places: In the nose and throat, where they are highly contagious, or lower in the lungs, where they spread less easily but are much more deadly.
    This new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, adeptly cuts the difference. It dwells in the upper respiratory tract, where it is easily sneezed or coughed onto its next victim. But in some patients, it can lodge itself deep within the lungs, where the disease can kill. That combination gives it the contagiousness of some colds, along with some of the lethality of its close molecular cousin SARS, which caused a 2002-2003 outbreak in Asia.

    Another insidious characteristic of this virus: By giving up that bit of lethality, its symptoms emerge less readily than those of SARS, which means people often pass it to others before they even know they have it.

    It is, in other words, just sneaky enough to
    wreak worldwide havoc.
    ...


    The zombielike existence of RNA viruses makes them easy to catch and hard to kill.

    Outside a host, viruses are dormant. They have none of the traditional trappings of life: metabolism, motion, the ability to reproduce.

    ...

    And they can last this way for quite a long time.
    Recent laboratory research showed that, although SARS-CoV-2 typically degrades in minutes or a few hours outside a host, some particles can remain viable — potentially infectious — on cardboard for up to 24 hours and on plastic and stainless steel for up to three days. In 2014, a virus frozen in permafrost for 30,000 years that scientists retrieved was able to infect an amoeba after being revived in the lab.

    When viruses encounter a host, they use proteins on their surfaces to unlock and invade its unsuspecting cells. Then they take control of those cells’ molecular machinery to produce and assemble the materials needed for more viruses.

    “It’s switching between alive and not alive,” said Gary Whittaker, a Cornell University professor of virology. He described a virus as being somewhere “between chemistry and biology.”

    ...


    Most antimicrobials work by interfering with the functions of the germs they target. For example, penicillin blocks a molecule used by bacteria to build their cell walls. The drug works against thousands of kinds of bacteria, but because human cells don’t use that protein, we can ingest it without being harmed.

    ...

    But viruses function through us. With no cellular machinery of their own, they become intertwined with ours. Their proteins are our proteins. Their weaknesses are our weaknesses. Most drugs that might hurt them would hurt us, too.

    For this reason, antiviral drugs must be extremely targeted and specific, said Stanford virologist Karla Kirkegaard. They tend to target proteins produced by the virus (using our cellular machinery) as part of its replication process. These proteins are unique to their viruses. This means the drugs that fight one disease generally don’t work across multiple ones.

    And because viruses evolve so quickly, the few treatments scientists do manage to develop don’t always work for long. This is why scientists must constantly develop new drugs to treat HIV, and why patients take a “cocktail” of antivirals that viruses must mutate multiple times to resist.

    ...

    Understanding these proteins could be critical to developing a vaccine, said Alessandro Sette, head of the center for infectious disease at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology. Previous research has shown that the spike proteins on SARS are what trigger the immune system’s protective response. In a paper published this month, Sette found the same is true of SARS-CoV-2.

    This gives scientists reason for optimism, according to Sette. It affirms researchers’ hunch that the spike protein is a good target for vaccines. If people are inoculated with a version of that protein, it could teach their immune system to recognize the virus and allow them to respond to the invader more quickly.

    “It also says the novel coronavirus is not that novel,” Sette said.

    ..

    Some virologists believe we have one other thing working in our favor: the virus itself.

    For all its evil genius and efficient, lethal design, Kirkegaard said, “the virus doesn’t really want to kill us. It’s good for them, good for their population, if you’re walking around being perfectly healthy.”

    Evolutionarily speaking, experts believe, the ultimate goal of viruses is to be contagious while also gentle on their hosts — less a destructive burglar and more a considerate house guest.

    ...

    But bit by bit, over time, its RNA will change. Until one day, not so far in the future, it will be just another one of the handful of
    common cold coronaviruses that circulate every year, giving us a cough or sniffle and nothing more.
    .

    My most dangerous mission: I landed in the middle of an enemy tank battalion and I immediately, started spraying bullets killing everybody around me having fun up until my computer froze...

  • #2
    Thanks pamak, very interesting

    Comment


    • #3
      https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...0317175442.htm

      a follow up on the Corona 19 virus's origins
      The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by pamak View Post

        For all its evil genius and efficient, lethal design, Kirkegaard said, “the virus doesn’t really want to kill us. It’s good for them, good for their population, if you’re walking around being perfectly healthy.”

        Evolutionarily speaking, experts believe, the ultimate goal of viruses is to be contagious while also gentle on their hosts — less a destructive burglar and more a considerate house guest.
        Not my field, but isn't there viruses "embedded" in our very dna?
        Wisdom is personal

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Karri View Post

          Not my field, but isn't there viruses "embedded" in our very dna?
          Not my field either. I just noticed that the article mentions the " RNA viruses", so perhaps this is just one category of viruses.


          The zombielike existence of RNA viruses makes them easy to catch and hard to kill.

          Outside a host, viruses are dormant. They have none of the traditional trappings of life: metabolism, motion, the ability to reproduce.


          Now after the RNA virus attacks a human cell, it may become embedded to the cell's DNA and use it for the virus' reproduction or other functions?
          My most dangerous mission: I landed in the middle of an enemy tank battalion and I immediately, started spraying bullets killing everybody around me having fun up until my computer froze...

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by pamak View Post

            Now after the RNA virus attacks a human cell, it may become embedded to the cell's DNA and use it for the virus' reproduction or other functions?
            I meant, as in they become embedded and part of dna, not as viruses anymore. But as said, I don't quite understand this:
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endogenous_retrovirus
            Wisdom is personal

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by pamak View Post
              Now after the RNA virus attacks a human cell, it may become embedded to the cell's DNA and use it for the virus' reproduction or other functions?
              Correct. A virus corrupts the cells nominal DNA and uses it to replicate itself.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by DingBat View Post

                Correct. A virus corrupts the cells nominal DNA and uses it to replicate itself.
                You know, I first had to google to verify if a cell has at its center DNA or not, lolol. In my days, biology was not important in our schools unless in the last grade of high school and only for those who were preparing to take the exams for entering Medical Schools.
                My most dangerous mission: I landed in the middle of an enemy tank battalion and I immediately, started spraying bullets killing everybody around me having fun up until my computer froze...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Karri View Post

                  I meant, as in they become embedded and part of dna, not as viruses anymore. But as said, I don't quite understand this:
                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endogenous_retrovirus


                  Read previous post. After reading the first sentence in your link, it is clear that I will need a looooooot of time to get an idea of what wiki says.
                  My most dangerous mission: I landed in the middle of an enemy tank battalion and I immediately, started spraying bullets killing everybody around me having fun up until my computer froze...

                  Comment

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