Not all viruses are bad

This massive panic… it got me thinking. I’m trying my best to keep my focus away from becoming even more panic neurotic person than I already am.

No, getting a viral infection is not good. But that doesn’t mean all viruses are bad. Some of them are beneficial in human health and in agriculture.
Norovirus, for example, can replace the beneficial effects of certain gut bacteria when these have been decimated by antibiotics. Excessive antibiotic intake can kill the normal gut flora, and make one vulnerable to gastrointestinal disease, but norovirus infection can actually restore the normal function of the immune system’s lymphocytes and the normal morphology of the intestine.

There are also some benefits of Mammalian viruses, which can provide immunity against bacterial pathogens. Gamma-herpesviruses boost mice resistance to Listeria monocytogenes, and to Yersinia pestis (also known as the plague).
Latent herpesviruses also arm natural killer cells, which kill both mammalian tumor cells, and cells that are infected with pathogenic viruses.

I can’t see anything good in the coronavirus though, and people getting sick. But it’s never good to focus only on the bad things, no matter the situation.

Feel free to share your own thoughts about the viruses in the comments below.

References:
Viruses: You’ve heard the bad; here’s the good
Viruses aren’t all nasty – some can actually protect our health
The Good That Viruses Do

0 Replies to “Not all viruses are bad”

  1. “but norovirus infection can actually restore the normal function of the immune system’s lymphocytes and the normal morphology of the intestine.”

    Wow! I guess this could evolve as a kind of symbiosis, where the genes of both the host and the virus gain an increased chance of their genes propagating. Restoring immune system function is certainly a massive benefit, especially in a world without vaccines or most of medicine which we have today. For the virus, the human serves as a production machine as long as it stays alive.

    Viruses are certainly interesting— for the way that they can actually permanently modify the genetic code of the host they infect, for example.

    “When viruses infect us, they can embed small chunks of their genetic material in our DNA. Although infrequent, the incorporation of this material into the human genome has been occurring for millions of years. As a result of this ongoing process, viral genetic material comprises nearly 10 percent of the modern human genome”

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161128151050.htm

    I just find the way that life works to be endlessly fascinating. I can just never get over the complexity of what goes on in our bodies. And it’s all just chemistry!

  2. We humans (population 7.3 billion and growing) see no value in the corona virus, but if we were tigers, whose world population has been reduced by humans to approx 5,000, or sumatran rhinos (only 70), we might see Covid 19 as mother nature trying to restore some balance.

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