Micro Life Zone
Asked by misszombie to Cindy, Katelin, Kate, Miranda, Yagiz on 21 Mar 2013.
Hi Misszombie, very interesting question. Made me think for a while… I read some peer-reviewed papers and now I’m ready to answer.
Ok. I don’t know any diseases can literally combine and I couldn’t find any example for it. However if you have certain medical conditions they may cause many other diseases. For instance high cholesterol is associated with an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease, which can include coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. High cholesterol has also been linked to diabetes and high blood pressure. Another example is the link between diabetes (type 2) and obesity. Almost 90% of people with newly-diagnosed type 2 diabetes are overweight. They don’t “combine” but their joint effects may be more life threatening.
Actually, virii (more than one virus) theoritically combine if they both infect the same cell and tell the cell to make more of both and then randomly packaging up parts of both of them into new virus particles to spread.
It was already known that flu was capable of doing this in pigs when different strains of flu infected the same pig a new strain could develop from combining bits of both strains. this is called antigenic shift.
Last year, it was found that on some australian chicken farms, where chickens were vaccinated with a new attenuated form of a chicken specific herpes virus (a form of the virus which can’t cause disease but has all of the DNA etc) that the DNA from the new vaccine stitched together with the old vaccine and created a new virus that was more than capable of causing the herpes disease worse than what they were vaccinating against.
Now that’s what’s happening naturally in animals, but we know that it can be achieved in the lab also and using completely different virii, not just different strains of the same species. During the late 1980s, the Soviet Union’s Chimera Project studied the feasibility of combining smallpox and Ebola into one super virus (that would be super scary, and i don’t know if they succeeded)
But other scientists have since published successful combinations such as Yellow Fever/Japanese Encephalitis Chimeric Viruses created for the purpose of creating a dual vaccine.
This terrifes governments, that one day a country may create a super combined virus as a bioweapon, but thankfully new technology available will make it easy to quickly identify what has been combined and to get to work very quickly on treatments
thx guys =)
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