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Engineering viruses?

  1. Apr 24, 2006 #1

    matthyaouw

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    Has any real thought ever been given to engineering virusses with the nessecary antigens to attach to something of the engineer's choice, such as a harmful bacteria strain? If slow-mutating strains were chosen, with none of the nessecary antigens to attach to a human, would this make a viable way of controlling or curing a disease?
    I realise it wouldn't be as simple as that, and be somewhat fraught with difficulty, but has any research been undertaken along these lines?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 24, 2006 #2
    It's generally not the bacterial diseases that cause the most health problems, but viral diseases and parasites. The greatest threats to health in the three categories are probably influenza (a virus, with HIV catching up in the next decade or so), malaria (parasite) and tuberculosis (bacteria). Unless it is a resistant strain of TB (which unfortunately is on the rise), we have pretty effective treatments for it, and the same with malaria. But influenza is always a crap shoot whether or not our immunization attempts will work.
     
  4. Apr 25, 2006 #3

    iansmith

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    There's actually a treatement developed by the russian and it is used in eastern europe that use bacteriophage (i.e. a specific bacterial viruses) to treat infection with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

    Researches are trying do develop and engineer those viruses. I remember seeing a few papers about the engineering I just can seem to find it

    Wikipedia has short article on phage therapy
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phage_therapy

    http://www.evergreen.edu/phage/phagetherapy/phagetherapy.htm
     
  5. Apr 27, 2006 #4

    matthyaouw

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    Thanks for the links! I didn't realise it'd been so thoroughly tested!
    I'll have more of a read around when all my deadlines are out of the way.
     
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