- June 27, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
- Viruses are simple in structure: a small amount of genetic material wrapped in proteins and lipids.
- Just 20-200 nanometres in size, they can only be detected with an electron microscope.
- Yet, their ability to hijack living cells and exploit them for multiplication is what makes viruses unique.
- They often destroy their host cells in the process, and that’s when animals and humans get sick.
- Scientists have genetically modified the herpes simplex virus type 1 in such a way that it can be used to fight tumor cells.
- The herpes virus is known for the painful, unsightly blisters it causes on the lips.
- It can also induce encephalitis, especially in those with a weakened immune system.
- The genetic material of the herpes virus consists of DNA, not RNA as in the case of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
- The core technologies needed to genetically modify herpes viruses already exist especially as a result of the development of the Covid Vaccine.
- The AstraZeneca vaccine is based on adenoviruses, which cause colds in chimpanzees but are harmless to humans.
- The modified viruses pass the information required to develop vaccine antigens into human cells, at which point SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies are formed.
- This aspect of genetically modifying the virus is used to manipulate the herpes viruses to incorporate a target control.
- This ensures that our viruses enter cancerous cells when we inject them directly into the tumor, rather than healthy ones.
- They then multiply and cause the cells to burst.
- This process releases tumor markers that enable the body’s own immune system to fight cancer.
- In addition, the immune response is activated with specific proteins that the viruses release when they reproduce.
- The immune system then recognises the tumor cells and eliminates them.
- The herpes simplex virus has another decisive advantage over other viruses —one can press an “emergency stop button” using a tried and tested antiviral drug.