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SARS looks like a potential pandemic.

  1. Mar 31, 2003 #1
    It looks like SARS may become a world-wide pandemic.
    How do these diseases just pop up?
    Ordinary viruses must undergo mutations which turn them deadly.
    Is this correct?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 31, 2003 #2

    Another God

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    Yep. Virus' are just as prone to mutation as everything else is.
     
  4. Mar 31, 2003 #3

    Monique

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    The virus might have aquired its characteristics by exchanging elements w/ another virus, causing a new more virulent form. It might also already have been present in animals and it just changed host.

    A problem w/ virusses that it is not so easy to treat them, luckily it doesn't seem to very deadly, many people have survived the illness.. let's hope they are able to develop a vaccine.
     
  5. Mar 31, 2003 #4

    Phobos

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    Or even contain it. Seems like the world is attacking it at the beginning stages (e.g., quarentines). Hopefully that will stop a pandemic. Better to see it coming early than to be behind the curve on something like this.
     
  6. Apr 1, 2003 #5

    FZ+

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    Then again, it's early days yet. The virus has been more or less just identified, and I would not say the current case is sufficient in scale to be truely catastrophic. But with modern transport, who knows... For now, quarantine and a big international research effort seems critical.

    Monique: It is thought now that the virus, of the measels family, did in fact come from animals to humans. This can be a problem...
     
  7. Apr 1, 2003 #6

    Monique

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    HIV-virus came from animals too..
     
  8. Apr 1, 2003 #7
  9. Apr 1, 2003 #8
    Think global, act local. Stay away from airports and people who've been to airports. :smile:
     
  10. Apr 1, 2003 #9

    LURCH

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    Has that been confirmed? I'd allways heard it was suspected, but I never heard it was proven.
     
  11. Apr 1, 2003 #10
    It seems reasonable. I wouldn't think that it would be so difficult to identify a new strain of an existing human disease.
     
  12. Apr 2, 2003 #11

    FZ+

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    Yes, I think it's pretty much accepted that HIV came from SIV. (No, not that Siv, I mean Simian Immunodeficiency Virus, or something like that.... :smile:)
     
  13. Apr 2, 2003 #12
    I've heard that this drug works better in women and children then men and older persons. Those patients who smoke are more more difficult to recover from the atypical pneumonia. For some cases in which patients show no good responds to the drug, doctors use antibodies from recovered person to treat those who are sick, this works quite well too.



    Just like the bird flu, H5N1, attacked people in Hong Kong few years ago.

    I watched a tv program yesterday in which a doctor in Canada (if I remember correctly) said that he got a patient suffered from SARS, who's situation was worsening, then he suddenly became better and better without much help from drugs !
     
  14. Apr 4, 2003 #13
    The origin of many disease vectors begins in China where there is a dense population, many people living with livestock and poultry, poor control of epidemics (as the Chinese government admitted this week) and a large movement of goods and people to outside the region.
     
  15. Apr 5, 2003 #14
    Hi Monique:
    How does an anti viral agent work to get rid of the virus?

    Thank you for your time

    mich


     
  16. Apr 7, 2003 #15
    In reality, it will be pretty hard to contain it in a city that packs millions in a tiny area. But still, China should have told WHO so to limit its spread to other countires.
     
  17. Apr 7, 2003 #16

    Monique

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    Hi Mich, well, there are several ways. The main problem with virusses is that they are inside our own body cells so difficult to recognize or to target. The main thing you would want to do is target one of the virus-specific pathways. In the case of SARS, we are dealing with a virus that is made up of RNA (rather than DNA) as a genetic material. For an RNA virus to work, it first needs to covert itself to DNA, this is good step to target since it doesn't occur much in our own body cells.

    What I understand is that Ribavirin works by creating such extreme mutation rates in viruses that it drives them into "genetic meltdown". This is done by targeting the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase enzyme. Using poliovirus, a team observed a 99.3% loss in viral genome infectivity after a single round of ribavirin mutagenesis sufficient to cause a 9.7-fold increase in mutation frequency. Interestingly, this is the first time it has been demonstrated as a mechanism for a working drug.

    For more detailed information about ribavirin: quote..
    At present there are 4 proposed mechanisms of action of ribavirin. They can be divided into 2 groups. The first group consists of 2 possible indirect mechanisms: (1) enhancement of host T-cell-mediated immunity against viral infection through switching the T-cell phenotype from type 2 to type 1 and (2) inhibition of the host enzyme inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMPDH). The second group consists of 2 other hypotheses: (1) direct inhibition of HCV, including NS5B-encoded RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) and (2) as an RNA mutagen that drives a rapidly mutating RNA virus over the threshold to "error catastrophe." Author: Johnson Lau in Hepatology (may 2002, Volume 35, Number 5)
     
  18. Apr 8, 2003 #17
    can SARS eradicate human beings ?
     
  19. Apr 8, 2003 #18
    no because people can get well from sars. Only those who have weak immune system, old or have other chronic diseases are more vulnerable to sars.
     
  20. Apr 8, 2003 #19

    Monique

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    I heard the number that 1 in 25 dies, I am not sure how correct that is though.
     
  21. Apr 8, 2003 #20

    FZ+

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    But mutations can always occur and we could be seeing the tip of the iceberg here....
     
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