Why no cure for virus?

John Gentile yjgent at cox.net
Mon Jun 9 21:36:36 EST 2003

In <CY2Fa.250194$3n5.27268 at news2.central.cox.net> Harry wrote:
> By talking to my family doctor, I got a rough idea what a virus is.
> There is one message I remembered from his words--there is no medicine 
> for virus caused cold!
> Does it mean virus is not killable by medicine?  If so, why do I hear 
> that medicine under development for SARS? Did I misunderstood him?
Viruses are a peculiar breed! They are not really a living organism 
since they do not breath, eat, expel waste, but they do reproduce. They 
way they do this is to kidnap a cell in the body and trick it into 
producing more viruses. Once the cell is loaded with virus it will burst 
open - killing the cell - and the new viruses go on to invade other 
living cells. Since the viruses reproduction is done by our own cells 
they only way to stop it is to interrupt the function of the cells 
themselves - very dangerous to do in a living human.

The best defense against virus infections is by an antibody attacking 
the virus before it invades the cell. Your body will produce antibodies 
to anything it will consider foreign or invading, and it will "remember" 
the invader for a long period of time. Vaccination is a way of making 
the body think it has an infection and producing the antibodies. Some 
vaccines work for a long time - like polio, some others need booster 
shots, and others don't work well from year to year because the virus 
has mutated so much like the flu virus.

The best medicines to treat minor virus infections are your typical cold 
meds - anti-histamines, decongestants, cough syrup and something for 
fever like aspirin or Tylenol. For real heavy duty treatment of deadly 
infections like AIDS you need to stop the function of the cells to try 
to kill off the virus - like I said - a very dangerous thing to do.


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