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Ozone holes and viruses

PANGELETTI at bmg.bhs.uab.edu PANGELETTI at bmg.bhs.uab.edu
Fri Jul 14 10:01:03 EST 1995

Andrea Dennis wrote:

It is becoming increasingly evident, however,  throughout the scientific community that 
the depletion of the ozone layer is having a direct effect on the emergence and 
re-emergence of viruses. Of course this has all kinds of implications. How many 
different things do we know of deplete the ozone layer? All kinds of things. Every tree 
that's cut down, pollution, hairspray, the list could go on forever. And even those 
things increase the likelihood of emergence and re-emergence. Look at the rainforest. 
Every area that's cleared exposes species to new viruses. That's how HIV came
about in the first place. So, yes, the depletion of the ozone layer doesdirectly affect 
people...And, just a reminder, without ozone, we would not have a planet condusive to 
life, especially human life. We would not be able to breathe. We would fry from the 
exposure of Ultraviolet rays from the sun. Ozone is definitely important

I don't think I have seen anything that suggests that there is any kind of direct link 
between ozone depletion (which is a serious problem) and "emergence" of viruses.  If 
what you say is true we should have seen many a paper in Science and Virology by now.  
The effects of increased UV radiation are probably wide ranging, but it seems that they 
might be more detectable in large organisms rather than viruses.  In order to make a 
statement like that you really need to have sequenced viruses in the affected area and 
determined that the rate of mutation is higher than the same situation without the 
ozone hole.  If someone has done this it would be interesting to read.

Peter C. Angeletti
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Adenovirus replication and host cell interactions
PAngeletti at BMG.BHS.UAB.EDU
zm00016 at uabdpo.uab.dpo.edu

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