Mysteries of the Virus

Introduction to viruses: For centuries
submicroscopic organisms, also known as viruses,
that grow and multiply at different rates inside of a
cell, have been circulating our planet.1 The cell
produces the various, essential components of the
virus. These components are: 1) DNA or RNA
nucleic acids, which are the genes of the virus.
Viral particles posses either DNA strands or RNA
strands, but never both in contrast bacterial
infections contain both. The amount of DNA/RNA
in a virus changes depending on the type of virus.
2) A protein which is extremely important in a
hazardous virus because is provides a strong,
protective barrier as the virus passes from cell to
cell.2 Viruses do not contain the enzymes and
metabolic pressures needed for self-duplication.
The missing components are taken from the host
cells they infect. Replication begins when the virus
enters the cell. The enzymes remove the coat of
the virus, and the RNA or DNA particles come in
contact with the ribosomes in the cell. The virus
then finds the protein by using the nucleic acid.
Several new RNA or DNA strands are made.
Once the cell has exceeded the maximum number
of strands, it then bursts open and the new
particles find new host cells. The process is then
repeated.3 The following is a list of the many ways
viruses can be classified: 1.) Whether viral
particles contain RNA or DNA strands. In some
cases there are retroviruses. That is when a RNA
virus enters the cell, then converts to a DNA virus.
2.) Whether the genome is single stranded or
double stranded 3.) For single stranded RNA
viruses, the code for a protein could be positive
stranded or negative stranded. 4.) The genome
may be linear or circular and may be in a single
segment or multiple segments. 5.) The size and
overall shape of the virus. 6.) The effects of the
viruses.4 Viruses can directly cause damage to the
cells by seizing the cells metabolic resources
and/or by producing toxic components which
interfere with their normal functions. These viruses
will generally make what is known as a cytopathic
effect (CPE) in tissue culture cells. Viruses can
also cause cells to alter their components making
them targets for anti-cellular viruses such as
AIDS.5 II. An In-Depth view “Infectious diseases
are the third leading cause of death in the United
States and the leading cause worldwide...” but,
“we only spend 1% of our health-care budget on
prevention,” claims Dr. David Satcher.6 For years
scientists have been complaining about the amount
of government money spent on virus prevention.
Within the past twenty years, more than 30 new
virulent types have been discovered, like Lyme
Disease, Legionnaire’s disease, AIDS, and
Ebola.7 For the past couple of years, scientists
have been fearing “antibiotic-resistant organisms,”
often called “killer bacteria.” Diseases that were
once easily eliminated with antibiotics, such as ear
infections or pneumonia, can now outsmart
common drugs. Scientists also state that there is
only one drug to treat some infections. Once a
virus becomes resistant, society will basically have
returned to the preantibiotic age.8 “Twenty years
ago, many people believed infectious diseases
would be conquered,” recalls Dr.John
Barlett.“Organisms changed, people changed.”9
There are many ways people can protect
themselves from viruses. They can stay inside their
houses all day fearing viruses,10but “A ship is safe
in the harbor, but that’s not what ships are made
for.”11 The following is a list of ten ways to
prevent infectious diseases without interrupting a
person’s life: 1.) VACCINATE all children,
adults, and pets. 2.) WASH HANDS often,
especially during the cold and flu season. 3.)
PREPARE FOOD carefully, cook it thoroughly.
4.) USE ANTIBIOTICS exactly as your doctor
directs after you have encountered an infectious
disease. 5.) REPORT AN INFECTION that
does not heal to a doctor. 6.) AVOID AREAS
with lots of insects use bug repellent on all
wilderness trips. 7.) BE CAUTIOUS around all
wild or unfamiliar animals. 8.) AVOID UNSAFE,
unprotected sex and intravenous drug use. 9.)
ASK ABOUT DISEASE threats, like hepatitis,
when you travel. 10.) ALLOW YOURSELF
TIME to recover when sick.12 III. Particular
Infectious Diseases in Detail Tuberculosis: Clinical
description: Tuberculosis is a chronic bacterial
infection caused by “Mycobacterial Tuberculosis”.
This disease is characterized by inflamed tissue
caused by granulomas.13 The disease primarily
affects the lungs, although the intestines and other
parts of the body may become infected.14 Clinical
Case Diagnosis: A positive tuberculin skin test.
Other signs and symptoms compatible with
tuberculosis are abnormal, unstable chest
radiographs, or clinical evidence of current
disease. Treatment with two or more
antituberculosis medications. It is spread mainly by
inhalation, occasionally by ingestion through
contaminated foods and utensils.15 Case
Classification: Confirmed: A case that meets the
clinical diagnosis or is laboratory confirmed.16
Additional Comments: The spread of tuberculosis,
once affecting millions, greatly decreased in the
1970’s. Many countries improved sanitation, early
detection through X-rays, and antituberculosis
drugs.17