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Not Zone

PANGELETTI at bmg.bhs.uab.edu PANGELETTI at bmg.bhs.uab.edu
Thu Jan 18 18:28:29 EST 1996

Michael Perdue regarding "return to the hot zone":

>My experience is that viruses don't "try" to do anything (e.g. 
>"trying to escape the jungle or Africa").  You might stretch the 
>case for bacteria, saying they are "trying" to establish niches or 
>"trying" to communicate with one another while causing 
>disease, but really, viruses do neither of these things and 
>certainly don't try to infect new hosts and leave continents, or 
>cause an apocalypse.

Exactly.  Thank you for pointing this out.  To say a virus is 
"trying" to get out of Africa gives them much more will and 
intent (almost human strangely) than they have.  Viruses just 
are. That's it - they are. 

>I think scientists and journalists alike have done some 
>disservice to the public, myself included, but I think its pretty 
>much human nature. Virologists are certainly going to argue that 
>deadly viruses must be taken "very" seriously when they are 
>applying for research monies.  They tend to stretch the limits of 
>the deadly capabilities of virus strains.

This may be true to an extent.  But I, for one, *would* like to see 
virology funding increased.   We should, however, do a public 
service by pointing out to people that  "The Hot Zone, " 
"Outbreak," and "X-files" and sometimes CNN are not sources of 
reliable virology information.

Anyway, there's my monthly contribution.
Peter C. Angeletti
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics
University of Alabama at Birmingham 
Adenovirus replication and host interaction
Pangeletti at bmg.bhs.uab.edu

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