Posts

Showing posts with the label Ebola

Tackling Ebola, once and for all.

Image
Transmission Electron Micrograph of the Ebola Virus. Hemorrhagic Fever, RNA Virus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)The epidemic of Ebola virus that began in December of 2013 has already claimed lives of over 2000 people, mostly in the West African region, where the outbreak occurred. The recent death of a Liberian citizen who travelled to the United States, probably after contracting an infection in his home country has raised further fears of how quickly the virus is being transmitted and is able to increase its reach. 
To make matters worse, there is no drug that is 100% effective against the virus and the few drugs that have been given limited clearances such as Zmapp and Brincidofovir are either out of stock or not available in enough numbers to contain the spread. The only means of containing the infection right now are preventing its further spread by following stringent protocols of containment and screening travellers who are flying out of affected countries and quarantining them on a…

Why viruses are not in our good books?

Image
For all their amazing abilities of being able to survive outside their host, replicate in large numbers and still not be called 'living', viruses have failed to get some positive reviews for themselves. This is likely to be because the term virus is associated with some of the most scariest diseases in human history. Influenza, AIDS, SARS and the recent spread of Ebola, all have their roots in the term 'virus'. Yet, today, we will not dwell on how bad viruses are or the havoc they can cause. This post is more about how intelligent can viruses be! 
Although most viruses are associated with harmful diseases that are caused as a result of infection, there is also a large family of viruses who have a friendly association with their hosts. Called Polydnaviruses, these viruses have long been known to exist, mutually, with their hosts, the parasitoid wasps (which rely on smaller insects such as worms for their reproduction). On gaining maturity, the parasitoid wasps lays its e…