Virology

How the Viruses Within Us Protect Us From Other Viruses

by Gertrud U. Rey Did you know that eight percent of the human genome consists of DNA sequences that are derived from retroviruses? These “endogenous retroviruses” (ERVs) represent concrete evidence for retroviral infections that occurred in our ancestors. Although ERVs have no viral activity, an accumulating body of evidence suggests ...

Why Do Some Viruses Have a Seasonal Cycle?

by Gertrud U. Rey Have you ever wondered why some viruses circulate primarily in the winter and others are more prevalent in the summer? Although we don’t have a clear answer to this question, a combination of factors is likely responsible.   Work done in the field of respiratory viruses ...

Why We Can’t Eradicate Poliovirus

by Gertrud U. Rey Child in Papua New Guinea receiving OPV. Credit: WHO In 1988 the World Health Organization, Rotary International, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention passed the initiative to eradicate polio globally by the year 2000. We are now 23 years past this deadline, ...

A Long-Awaited Vaccine

by Gertrud U. Rey Almost sixty years have passed since the initial formalin-inactivated respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine caused enhanced disease in children when they were subsequently infected with the virus. Since then, RSV has continued to be a substantial public health threat to infants, young children, and older people. ...

There Is Something to Be Gained From Gain of Function Experiments

by Gertrud U. Rey In recent years, the phrase “gain of function” and its abbreviation “GoF” have attained a sinister connotation that is coupled with a general mistrust toward scientists who engage in this type of experimentation. This public perception is grounded in a basic misunderstanding of what constitutes GoF ...
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