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Predation [Sic] of viruses

PANGELETTI at bmg.bhs.uab.edu PANGELETTI at bmg.bhs.uab.edu
Sun Jul 23 14:25:57 EST 1995

Steve Poet wrote:

> > I too am mystified by the concept of predatory viruses suggested in the
> > Hot Zone.  This kind of sensationalized "information" tends to lead to 
> > panic and uninformed political decisions.

Don Haut added: 
 Well Put!

To which Bob Morell replied: 
I take issue with this, in that "predatory" is a human concept, used for 
communication of a complex activity. In that it communicates the danger 
and seriousness of the virus, it is appropriate.
Lack of public awareness to this virus would also lead to uninformed 
political decisions. See my other post on the utility of panic.

I say: I agree mostly with Don & Steve.  The word "predatory" gives images of viruses 
which have evolved soley to lay-waste on the human population.  It is very 
Anthropocentric.  It would serve the public better to explain that viruses are very 
pathogenic in cases where they have crossed into another species than their normal 
host. We all know that viruses tend to become less pathogenic over time in a given 
host.  I do, however, agree with Bob on the point that there is utility in fear (I 
wouldn't say panic).  Fear is a very motivating factor when it comes to political 
decisions.  But, I think there is almost more fear in knowing the truth: that any one 
of the millions of viruses could cross its species boundaries and reak havoc.

Peter C. Angeletti
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Adenovirus replication and host cell interactions
- I'm an economic refugee from California
PAngeletti at BMG.BHS.UAB.EDU
zm00016 at uabdpo.uab.dpo.edu

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