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The Flu Virus

  1. Mar 15, 2005 #1
    Every year we hear about the flu season and the cold season without fail. Everybody is always so riled up about the flu. With good reason too. Now they have patented a vaccine that is supposed to prevent you from getting the virus. Makes sense to me. Vaccinate high risk people who could potentially die from getting it. The cold virus is the flu's less intense cousin.

    Bacteria evolves all the time. Its mind boggling how bacteria manage to exponetially grow. With all that bacteria growing and evolving all the time, the flu virus had to come from somewhere. The same goes for the cold virus. Where did they come from? Is there a common strain of bacteria they evolved from?

    Let me know your thoughts. It would be interesting to discuss. Oh, and by the way, how does eating chicken soup when you're sick help you get better?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 15, 2005 #2


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    Viruses and bacteria are entirely different entities. Colds and flu are caused by viruses, not bacteria. They also arise from unrelated viruses, so are not "cousins." The symptoms they share are due to how a person's immune system fights "invaders" of any kind.

    The chicken soup answer is in the other thread you started about home remedies. :smile: Briefly, it just ensures you're getting your nutrition and hydration so your own immune system can keep up the fight.
  4. Mar 15, 2005 #3
    Yeah I see your point. How many different strains of the flu virus are there?
    The chicken soup question is kinda relevent to both threads. I was just curious. :smile:
  5. Mar 15, 2005 #4
    Chicken soup and many of its ingredients help stop the movement of neutrophils -- white blood cells that eat up bacteria and cellular debris and which are released in great numbers by viral infections like colds.
    Tryptophan {also inthe soup} helps you to rest.

    There are only 3 types of the influenza virus (known as A, B and C) but many strains. Type A being the most common.It is constantly changing its genetic makeup, so we need new shots every year.
  6. Mar 15, 2005 #5


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    Of course, viruses may have been created by ancient bacteria for their own defense; unfortunately, not long afterward, the weaponry was coevolving.

    - Warren
  7. Mar 15, 2005 #6
    Interesting stuff in chicken soup. Who knew? :wink: Its a good thing it tastes good, well, when your not all stuffed up... :grumpy:
  8. Mar 15, 2005 #7
    You know what? In Chinese tradition, once you get sick you're not allowed to have any chicken products at all! This is totally in contrast to western cultures, as my grandparents and relatives scoff at the idea of chicken soup when sick. Being Chinese myself, I tend to believe my culture's concern with chicken. Anybody have anything to back this up?

  9. Mar 15, 2005 #8


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    Of course, there are no randomized double blinded clinical trials (in vivo ) demonstration of any benefit. :biggrin:
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2005
  10. Mar 15, 2005 #9


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    I thought the flu virus mutates so quickly that we need to develop a vaccine each year for each new strain. How can a vaccine be patented if this is so?
  11. Mar 15, 2005 #10
    Not sure. Ask the drug companies.
  12. Mar 15, 2005 #11
    Weird. Well cool too. I've never heard that. Why does your culture not allow you to have chicken products once you get sick? Is there some superstitous reasoning behind it?

    Now I've got to know. Hope you don't mind.
  13. Mar 15, 2005 #12
    It's not superstitious at all! Yet, none of the people in my family know why we don't have chicken if we are sick. This is also true for those tangy fruits like oranges. I'm sure most cultural stuff pass through generations because people have tried it and it actually works.

    And yeah.. the flu virus does mutate rapidly and we have to come up with new vaccines every year. No idea how a flu vaccine can be patented though. Besides, vaccines are too overrated these days :P

  14. Mar 15, 2005 #13
    I've never heard that. Prety cool cultural things you go going on there. I mean that sincerely too.

    I asked about the superstition because I didn't know. Sorry if I offended you :redface:
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