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No. 32: Mar-Apr 1984

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Subtle Is The Virus

"Without causing noticeable structural damage, a virus administered to laboratory mice has been found to dis rupt hormone production in a particular type of pituitary cell. This novel observation -- that viruses are able to injure their hosts in ways not previously suspected -- may trigger a far-reaching search for viruses as causes of many unexplained human diseases."

Some of the other types of diseases mentioned as possible consequences of virus infection are those involving the faulty manufacture of insulin, neurotransmitters, hormones, and immune system regulators.

(Miller, J.A.; "Subtle is the Virus: Cells Stay Intact," Science News, 125: 70, 1984.)

Comment. This item dwells on the negative aspects of vial infections. Indeed, we automatically assume every infection by any virus or bacterium to be bad for the organism. This may not be so. Now that we have discovered that viruses can cause bodily changes without damaging the cells of the infected organism, we should ask whether favorable physical changes might not be caused by viruses, but not recognized as such. Going a few steps further: Is intelligence a disease? Could evolution be accelerated or directed through the mediation of viruses? See below for more on this.

From Science Frontiers #32, MAR-APR 1984. 1984-2000 William R. Corliss