Friday, February 19, 2010


For the past week, I've had what I'm fairly sure is a viral infection. The low temperature have compounded the problem. Constantly hacking up phlegm isn't conducive to inventing insane machines, but I have made some discoveries about previous ones. None are big enough to merit their own post, but I may retroactively change the old posts.
Anyway, viruses. Viruses are constructs of protein that are debatably not alive, but are still able to hijack your cells for use as a virus-factory. This is how they reproduce. Others can rewrite their genetics into DNA and slip them into yours, a trait that leaves them labeled as "retroviruses." Between 10 and 50 percent of a human's genes were actually virally inserted. (Mostly into their ancestors.) Mine is, I suppose, a "cold," a family of rhinoviruses whose symptoms include nasal mucus, sneezing, coughing and miasma, all not caused by the virus itself but by the body's immune system frantically fighting it off, lest your important cells be used as virus factories. (The viral factory conversion typically kills the cell by depleting it of resources.) The name of the disease was due to the pre-germ-theory speculation of what caused it. They then believed that low temperatures were to blame.
Most viruses in existence actually cannot infect you. Bacteriophages are the most common kind of virus, and count on certain constructs of their chosen bacterial prey to use their cells, and your cells and mine do not have these constructs. Were you to inhale a cloud of mist containing a trillion bacteriophages, they would bounce around in your lungs for a bit, then either get exhaled, or die of starvation and then get exhaled. They could not deal with your cells, and would harmlessly bounce off them.
Biology has a lot of studies to do about viruses. Retroviruses offer a potential remedy for genetic disorders of all stripes. Targeting remains the biggest issue, one does not wish to replace one problem with a different one. Or wind up producing children who have little resemblance to yourself, if one modifies your genome too heavily. Viral diseases and the treatment thereof is a large part of medicine, particularly a cure for horrifying diseases like Ebola and AIDS. Unfortunately, intensive research has yet to find an outright cure for even trivial diseases like my cold, although even a treatment plan would prove major progress. A treatment plan would save millions of lives worldwide. Good luck with that, ladies and gentlemen.
For my cold, fluid, rest, and hot liquids are recommended. Goodnight.

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