Scientists Without Foresight Are Using Viruses To Alter Human DNA
Most people consider viruses as living things the can reproduce on their own to spread and infect their hosts. The fact is, viruses are neither alive nor can they reproduce like other living organisms. Many have even theorized that viruses are some of the most deadly man-made biological machines. So, if viruses are so deadly and infectious can they seriously be used to cure disease? Surprisingly, scientists are now committed to this deranged reality. The use of viruses to deliver new DNA to human cells is being investigated as part of what researchers claim are novel gene therapy techniques.
Several popular blockbusters, including I Am Legend and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, have envisioned the use of viruses, rigged to deliver therapeutic DNA to patients as a way of curing disease. In these films the scientists using these techniques are ecstatic when they discover that they’ve been successful, but their joy quickly turns to horror as the virus mutates out of control and begins to destroy the human population. This is undoubtedly a nightmare scenario, but how close do these films come to the truth? Can viruses, commonly known to cause disease, actually be used as a cure? How likely is it that they will mutate out of control and destroy the world? If this is the case, then why are they being used at all?
Viruses are responsible for a range of diseases, including the common cold, influenza, HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and Ebola. The sole selfish function of a virus is to infect a host (e.g. a human) then use this host to make more copies of its own DNA. It does this by entering a host cell and hijacking its DNA-making machinery, forcing it to make more viral DNA. However, it doesn’t stop there. Once the host cell has made sufficient viral DNA the virus then commandeers the host cell’s other machinery to create more intact viruses which "bud off" from the infected cell ready to infect its neighbours.
Viruses Cannot Use Their Genetic Material By Themselves
Viruses do have DNA or RNA, and DNA is the code for life. Having genetic material is an important step towards being classified as alive. DNA controls the evolution of the cell and the organism. Like living things, viruses evolve through time and thus can adapt to their environment. But unlike cells, viruses cannot use their genetic material by themselves. Living matter reproduces and passes on genetic material as a blueprint for growth and subsequent reproduction. However, viruses need a living cell in order to function and reproduce; otherwise they are playing dead.
Viruses Cannot Divide or Reproduce Themselves Without a Host Cell
Because viruses are not cells, they can't divide by binary fission like bacteria. Yet they do reproduce themselves in an extraordinary way. Their structure enables viruses to attack a plant or animal cell called a host cell. The protein shell protecting the virus' DNA is covered with spikelike protrusions. These spikes allow the virus to latch onto the cells they infect. Once hooked on, the virus injects its genetic material into the host cell.
The virus' DNA takes control of the cell once it's within the cytoplasm and begins to make the cell produce virus DNA and other parts of viruses. The host cell is forced to expend all of its energy and resources to help the virus replicate and make hundreds more viruses. The poor, weak cell usually bursts like an overinflated balloon from all the viruses and is destroyed in the process. Then, the replicated virus attaches itself to a new, unaffected host cell, and the viral infection continues.
Viruses Do Not Produce or Utilize Their Own Energy
Living things do more than just reproduce. They also must obtain food to fuel the cell's metabolic activity. Some organisms, such as animals, eat other living things for energy. Other organisms, such as plants, harness the Sun's energy to make their own food. Because viruses aren't cells and have no activity within it, it has no need for food. However, the virus-controlled host cell needs material and energy to reproduce the viruses.
Viruses Do Not Grow
All other living things also grow or get bigger. A virus does nothing inside its protein coat; therefore it does not grow.
Viruses Cannot Move Themselves
Plants and animals react to the environment. All living things have ways of sensing the world around them and can respond to changes in their environment. Homeostasis is the property of an open system, especially living organisms, to regulate its internal environment so as to maintain a stable condition. Do viruses react? Viruses cannot move themselves, viruses can react to some changes in their environment but they have a very minimalistic internal environment.
Remember, the virus' DNA or RNA can evolve over time, thereby increasing its chances for survival and adapting to the environment. Like bacteria, they adapt through genetic mutations caused by rapid reproduction. That is why it is so hard to cure viral diseases. Viruses keep changing their DNA and protein coat to further their "life form" and keep ahead of the game.
Therefore, since a virus does not meet most of the requirements considered to be a living thing, a virus is not alive.
Vaccines are also causing an unprecedented number of mutations creating superbugs and potent viruses and bacteria that may eventually threaten future generations and humanity itself. Evidence continues to mount from the scientific community who now admit that certain vaccines are in-fact causing both viral and bacterial mutations. Ironically, the same researchers assert that "better" vaccines are needed to offset the rise in persistent mutations.
Viruses are being investigated as carriers or ‘vectors’ for delivery of new undamaged DNA to swap for what scientists claim is damaged DNA caused by genetic mutations. The problem is, there are only a small number of recognised genetic mutations that this type of therapy could even theoretically help. Therefore, the idea of a single gene therapy functioning as a cure for Alzheimer’s or all known cancers, as seen in the movies, is purely fictitious!
Viruses which are currently being investigated for use in gene therapy include;adenovirus (responsible for the common cold), retrovirus (HIV is a retrovirus) and Herpes Simplex virus (as the name suggests, is responsible for herpes infections and also cold sores). Part of the appeal of using viruses in gene therapy is that they may be used to target DNA to specific cell types. This can be achieved by manufacturing viruses which can recognise and infect only certain types of cell. This means that "innocent" cells can be targeted in theory.
In the films, the therapeutic virus mutates back to its virulent form, or an even more virulent one. It then spreads a fatal disease throughout the population, causing a global catastrophe. One of the concerns about using viruses for gene therapy is that this nightmare scenario might come true. This possibility is currently under intensive study within controlled research environments. Although current research has found that recombination and a return to virulence may be possible for certain viruses, this may not be the case for all viral vectors used in gene therapy. However, if this technology is proven to pose a real risk then such research will likely be discontinued.
There are also other problems with using viruses as DNA carriers. The introduction of any foreign material into the body is likely to produce an immune response. The surface of the viral-coat is not smooth, it actually expresses a number of extruding proteins which may be recognised by a patient’s immune system. This means that the host’s immune system may recognise the foreign body and attempt to dispose of it. Strong immune responses can be fatal, especially in someone already weakened by a genetic disease. This problem could, in theory, be circumvented by removing proteins and other foreign bodies from the outside of the virus to lessen the chances of it being recognised as a foreign object.
Currently, gene therapy using viral vectors is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since concerns have arisen surrounding the deaths of two patients participating in gene therapy trials. One died of a severe immune response to the viral carrier. The other appeared to develop leukaemia, leading to fears that viral vectors may cause cancer.
Many of the viruses circulating the earth are now man-made.
The international nonprofit scientific organization Rethinking AIDS gave its full support early last year to 37 senior researchers, medical doctors and legal professionals who requested that the medical journal Science withdraw four seminal papers on HIV authored by Dr. Robert Gallo--papers widely touted as proof that HIV is the "probable cause of AIDS." Read HIV Does Not Cause Aids
"With new findings that undermine the scientific integrity and veracity of Gallo's four papers, the entire basis of the theory that HIV causes AIDS may now be questioned," says Rethinking AIDS president David Crowe.
The most highly respected scientists and academicians debated the possibility that HIV-1, the most widespread and deadly human AIDS virus, evolved from accidental vaccine contaminations and subsequent transmissions to mostly African villagers.
Investigative journalist Ida Honorof wrote, "the most brazen, obscene electioneering ploy" ever and added that it was proposed by the President "and his coterie of scientific hacks, fabricated to cause pure unadulterated panic and guarantee political capital, rammed through without consideration of people's health and lives and approved by a band-wagon Congress" eager to make the nation's "health" a bipartisan concern.
The above quote was not written about the avian flu epidemic but the 5 million swine-flu vaccine program of 30 years ago. The hastily contrived program for swine flu resulted in hundreds of Guillain Barre Syndrome paralysis victims as well as countless deaths for a flu pandemic that never materialized. Read Tired Of The Bird or Avian Flu Yet? Some Experts Claim It's A Hoax For Profit.
Just as there was no evidence of the avian flu virus mutating to cause a pandemic, there is also no evidence of any mutagenic process involved in the H1N1 swine flu virus. Talmage Holmes, a relationship manager for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Columbus, Ohio, states that pregnant women should not have any special worries. "Pregnant women are at no greater risk than others." says Dr. Holmes. "Until there has been mutation or re-assortment of the avian flu virus' genetic material, the risk to all humans is very low." Read Junk Science and Contradictions Dominate WHO Pandemic Statements and Policies
So how many more scientists are we going to allow play God, taking the lives of millions of people, into the hands of a few psychotic scientists with misplaced dreams of
Marco Torres is a research specialist, writer and consumer advocate for healthy lifestyles. He holds degrees in Public Health and Environmental Science and is a professional speaker on topics such as disease prevention, environmental toxins and health policy.