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Blood-Borne Viruses

Debate and discussion of any biological questions not pertaining to a particular topic.

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Blood-Borne Viruses

Postby Spiff321 » Sat Oct 18, 2008 8:55 pm

I'm sorry if this is in the incorrect section but my question seems to fit into many sub-forums. BTW this is not a homework question, I was just curious.

I was thinking about blood-borne viruses, and apart from their vector being blood do they share any characteristics on how they infect the cells? Google didn't really shed too much information on this question. I found out that HIV infects the the cell and reverse transcribes the viral RNA into viral double stranded DNA. Hepatitis does the same but it is not a retro-virus. Apart from Hep and HIV, I couldn't any list of blood-borne viruses.

What I'm really after is a question I saw on another forum that didn't really get too many quality responses.

The question was : Design a means to prevent the spread of ALAS (fictional blood-borne virus) that is susceptible to air, heat, cold, acid and alkali.

ALAS is from the short story "The Giving Plague" by David Brin. (http://www.davidbrin.com/givingplague1.html) I read the short and found it an incredible read. Essentially, ALAS is a blood-borne virus that compels the host to donate blood and that is how it passes from one host to another.If you ever have a moment, read the story, it is very enjoyable.

That's why I was wondering if all blood-borne viruses share some of the same characteristics.
To answer the question I thought synthesized short interfering RNA bound to a molecule that would transport it to the nucleus could target the viral genes in the DNA to silence the genes and prevent them from being expressed. I assume if you are pretreated with siRNA specific for the viral genes then the virus would never be expressed. I do not know if the susceptibility to air, heat, cold, acid, or alkali would make finding a cure any easier.

Am I way off on any of this? Does anyone have any ideas or suggestion for any reading that I could do on blood-borne viruses and how to prevent viruses from spreading. I could not find much on google. Its fun to play virologist.
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Postby stopherlogic » Sun Oct 19, 2008 6:25 pm

I wouldn't have thought a susceptibility to air, heat, cold, acid, or alkali would make it any easier to cure because most pathogens are to an extent. Once it is in the blood I would not have thought you could use those factors against the virus without killing the patient.

Your idea of using siRNA as a treatment sounds good though, what molecule would you use to transport to the nucleus?
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Re: Blood-Borne Viruses

Postby sam2008 » Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:20 am

The most common examples are HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and viral haemorrhagic fevers. Diseases that are not usually transmitted directly by blood contact, but rather by insect or other vector, are more usefully classified as vector-borne disease, even though the causative agent can be found in blood. Vector-borne diseases include West Nile virus and malaria.
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