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EBOLA-Musoke ques. (Hot Zone)

Giovanni Maga maga at vetbio.unizh.ch
Mon Mar 20 09:49:31 EST 1995

In article <3kfek0$2hn at ixnews3.ix.netcom.com>, tichysr at ix.netcom.com (steve
tichy) wrote:

I had wondered if their dabbing 
> it all over his liver hadn't caused the virus to attempt to mutate 
> itself with this foreign substance (the "gel foam"--even though it 
> wasn't designed OR intended to be used as an anti-viral agent) 
> thinking (if you can call it thinking) it was a new host form?  Do you 
> think in an odd sort-of-way, it was possible, the "gel foam" saved the 
> doctor's life?
> Veneta Tichy

Starting from these data is difficult to say what was causing the recovery
(i do not kow the case). But I think it should be pointed out that a virus
cannot *attempt* to mutate, in the sense that it does not make the choice
(it does not think). Given a fixed mutation rate, the changes in the
enviroment will cause some mutants (which arise spontaneously) to be more
adapted and more able to survive. A drug can interfere with the previous
population but than will be uneffective with the new one. Thus, a selective
pressure of any kind would select those viruses able to survive under such
a pressure. Thus *if* the gel foam was killing the viruses, it was because
it interfered with some mechanisms in a way the virus couldn't escape. The
only possibility in which mutations could be involved in this process is
that the gel induced a lot of random mutations which killed the virus or it
selected for a non pathogenic mutant, but this scenario seems *really*
unprobable to me.
maga at vetbio.unizh.ch

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