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Help for project

Joao Vasconcelos Costa jcosta at pen.gulbenkian.pt
Fri Jan 19 08:36:45 EST 1996

CINDY wrote:
> Hi!
> I'm a high school student and wish to do a project on finding
> the effective cures for flu. I read up that flu is a virus. So,
> is there any way to cultivate the virus and later use the
> various cure to see if the virus will be removed? Can I do
> it the same way of doing a bacteria culture on an agar plate??
> Any suggestions are welcomed. By the way, I will also
> appreciate it if someone can tell me how to improve and modify
> this project to make it more interesting.
> THANKS.....
> Cindy.
> P.s.: Is there anything called anti viral drugs? If yes, can
> you briefly enlighten me on how they work?

Yes, viruses can be grown at the laboratory, but not on agar plates.
They absolutely require living cells for replicating. What
virologists do is to cultivate cells in vitro, that means at the 
laboratory, out of of the organism, and infect them with the virus.
Then we can add drugs and look for possible inhibitory effects on
virus growth. However, this does not mean that such a drug can be
used safely or be effective when administered to a patient.
I doubt you can find a book on antiviral drugs in your high school
library, but you can look at good texts and basic courses linked
by the very comprehensive www page at 
Dr. JOAO V. COSTA                        mailto:jcosta at gulbenkian.pt
Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia     Apartado 14, P-2781 Oeiras Codex
PORTUGAL                 phone: +351(1)4435750   fax: +351(1)4435625

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