Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Are viruses alive? Perhaps we’re asking the wrong question

This June 8, 2020 article from The Conversation goes into some depth on how we define life alters how we categorize living versus non-living things.

Viruses have some characteristics of living things as DNA, the ability to change animal and plant DNA, and the ability to evolve. However they do not have a cell structure or a stable internal environment.

The complexity of this question is furthered by posing questions of forms that seem to be life outside of earth. What would be the qualifiers? or the select indicators that life is present?

The article concludes life is a human construct. Nature, evolution, and life exist without human categories. So some theorize that viruses are just on an evolutionary continuum regardless if we call them living or not.

July 13, 2020 Posted by | Health News Items | , , , | Leave a comment

BBC News – 30,000-year-old giant virus ‘comes back to life’

Thinking this would be great fodder for an global warming/climate change exploitation movie. Something along the lines of the giant virus that killed human civilization…..

 

BBC News – 30,000-year-old giant virus ‘comes back to life’.

From the July 2014 article

An ancient virus has “come back to life” after lying dormant for at least 30,000 years, scientists say.

It was found frozen in a deep layer of the Siberian permafrost, but after it thawed it became infectious once again.

The French scientists say the contagion poses no danger to humans or animals, but other viruses could be unleashed as the ground becomes exposed.

The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Professor Jean-Michel Claverie, from the National Centre of Scientific Research (CNRS) at the University of Aix-Marseille in France, said: “This is the first time we’ve seen a virus that’s still infectious after this length of time.”

Biggest virus

The ancient pathogen was discovered buried 30m (100ft) down in the frozen ground.

Called Pithovirus sibericum, it belongs to a class of giant viruses that were discovered 10 years ago.

Pithovirus sibericumThe virus infects amoebas but does not attack human or animal cells

These are all so large that, unlike other viruses, they can be seen under a microscope. And this one, measuring 1.5 micrometres in length, is the biggest that has ever been found.

The last time it infected anything was more than 30,000 years ago, but in the laboratory it has sprung to life once again.

July 9, 2014 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | | Leave a comment

   

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