It doesn't munch,nibble,gnaw,or chew. In fact, it doesn't eat anything. And since it doesn't eat, it has no energy. And of course, no need to excrete anything.
It's not a creature, bug, bugger, critter, nor varmint. In fact, according to all generally accepted biological definitons, it is not alive. But, is it dead ? More on that later.
Like most viruses it utilizes the icosahedral shape (think soccer ball). The icosahedral shape is very economic in terms of energy. If you want to learn more, look up Buckminster Fuller. He found the c60 molecule (called "Bucky Balls"),Think geodesic dome. That's right, it's based on the icosahedral shape as well.
It is incapable of reproducing on it's own. But, as some theorists (evolutionary biology/virology)speculate (an argument I am attracted to), that it may have been able to in the past. The contention is that at one time it did many functions that needed energy and displayed numerous attributes indicative of life.
So, what happened ? Theorists in virology point out that the odds of a the hcv virus existing long enough to learn, through the process of trial and error,how to hijack and manipulate the host cells to reproduce the virus ,(acting as a surrogate for hcv) is basically nil. Instead, its argued that HCV has actually evolved through de-evolution. Stay with me. The thinking goes that at one time in the history of HCV it was an organism (alive). After it "discovered" a method to hijack the host cell's chemical machinery, it no longer needed to reproduce on its own, so it stopped, thereby requiring less energy for the virion to survive on. Everything seeks its lowest state of free energy. In other words ,it continually evolves to become more "economic" in its use of energy. In seeking this low state of free energy it has over time stripped away everything that required energy that it could. It devolved into a state some refer to as "between the living and the dead". If you destroy HCV it gives off no detectable energy signature. Things that are alive do give one off.
So, what do others here think ? I know we all tend to personalize things, even viruses. It can be hard to wrap your head around the idea that HCV is not a living thing. Yet, all that I've read indicates this to me. Now, is it dead ? That's another question, entirely.
Any views welcome. This is a declared reference free zone.No references required.
Can't help you out on this one. There are many experts here, though, and if you post this as a NEW QUESTION on the forum, well, I'd bet you'll get more expert info than you'll know what to do with. I'd ask for references.
I also find this question about the nature of the virus interesting. I understand it builts itself into the chemical structure of the liver cells (and the blood cells) which would explain why so much time after UND is needed to entirely clear the virus.
OK - whether any virus is alive in the "living organism" sense remains to be seen only at a microscopic level - and leaves a lot to whether living is only consistent with creatures that have reproductive organs or souls (capability of independent thought).
I say that the virus is indeed alive - like all virii. Based on the concept that while it needs a host to survive - the virus itself is indeed alive - it has a "reason" to survive - it has a survival instinct - it reproduces...
We humans need air, food and water to survive - take those items away (consider those items our host, if you will) and we are still alive, until we deplete our resources. Same as the virus.
The virus replicates - we replicate.
It is not a society like we deem an important society - but it feeds off of cells to replicate - and in the process, it destroys our cellular structure (liver) and it builds up it's own society (per se) on the basis that it becomes a massive ground of virii.
Do the Virii interact? Only to reproduce at a basic level - and continue --- but what is the actual purpose of the Virus? At this point in scientific studies I have come across nothing that explains why the virus exists.
Nor can I explain why humans exist.
So is the virus alive? It is, as long as it survives.
rather confusing dormancy with non-existance isn't it? Like the big bang theory, first there was nothing, and then it exploded. Makes no sense. Life, and activity at levels we can't begin to comprehend, based on what little we have observed so far, makes infinitely more. To me anyway.
I'd be inclined to think like some tree seeds which lie dormant for a hundred years, somethings can be so non-active as to appear non-lifelike, until conditions for their emergence become just right.
One theory might be that of a lowering of resistance as one ages and both antibodies and growth hormone (for tissue repair) decline, becomes the triggers (or some other disease weakening us prematurely) in much the same way as water conditions, temperature and sunlight become triggers for these long dormant seeds.
One thing that's facinated me is how simple amoebas have a built in gyroscopic devices for manuvering about. Ergo, if one celled creatures we can now see functioning, (thanks to modern microscopes), on phenominally complex levels no less, then why would one assume a virus doesn't chew, and nibble, and play checkers or soccer better yet!!.
my understanding, having only been reading for a couple of days since diagnosis, so admittedly very limited, is that the liver is the best organ at regeneration, and so perhaps all the chewing just goes unnoticed until the regeneration is overtaken by the bodies inability to keep up?
what puzzles me, is I went on growth hormone injections for a very low functioning pituitary 8 months back, and this has kicked my just discover HVC into high gear.(or maybe not, who knows)
I would have assumed GH would have the affect of boosting my immune system, not making me sicker with HepC. Unless somehome the GH is boosting my immune systems own interferon or interleukin production and having some chemo effect of it's own.
Any thoughts here? Haven't been able to confirm this with a doc yet. I did go to to a Stanford trained immunologist this week...whoses answer was..."I don't know".
So any help would be much appreciated.
If a virus is neither dead nor alive, how can we kill it? Do we only stop it from reproducing itself, and then as the body cells replace themselves we get rid of the virus in each cell? Is that why there is no cure for HIV because HIV resides in the brain cells, and brain cells do not regenerate themselves? So if treatment makes the environment in the body unpleasant for the virus, to the point where it stops reproducing itself, then we would still have to wait for all the infected blood and liver cells to replace themselves. This procedure takes about 4 months for the red blood cells and 300-500 days for the liver cells.
But why then are some people rapid responders? Can their virus get killed off? If you think of the virus as being something between a living thing and a chemical, hmmm... I've heard that the hep C virus cannot exist if it cannot reproduce itself. So if one stops the chemical chain of the virus' reproduction, maybe this leads to extinction. And some versions of the virus are perhaps more sensitive to this than others.
i am not sure if this belongs here or in the wacky hcv theories post but heres mine.
if it can die, it can live.
whether it has evolved or de-evolved this organism demonstrates a unique survival defense system and replication fidelity which is successful. while we liken it to a parasite that needs other life forms to exist, is this any different from any biological life form?
all organisms survival depend on the environment into which they are born in order to survive and replicate. IMO hcv does this quite successfully and is in a evolutionary cycle that is evolving.
who can guess in the future whether it will develop its own dna replication cycle and cell idenity, or if unable to do so will find itself extinct or continuing to evolve more effective defense tactics in order to survive in its environment. perhaps it will one day "learn" to exist outside the human body just as many life forms have evolved to exist in other environments. only time will answer this question but as the famous jurassic park scientist said "life always finds a way"
oh dear...me thinks another thriller chiller movie is coming on. Alien viruses take over the earth. hmmm i wonder what they will look like? lol, while they ancestrally are linked to viral proteins they now look humaniod in the shape of a icosahedron, with 20 sensory organs gathering environmental information to rule and dominate life.
zazza-your thinking is right in line with researchers. trying to stop the reproductive cycle has been their primary focus., Still only theories about why some experience RVR while others don't. What's fascinating to me is nearly everyone who treats will have generally more than a 2 log reduction in virus within the first 4 days. http://www.natap.org/2002/AASLD/day21.htm
merrybe--I got you some pics. Yes, unfortunately this entity called hcv moves silently. I know very little about GH treatments other than what I have read. I'd be careful of anything that could harm you.http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/hgh.html
Whrose- using mainstream view on the definiton of life it does not "die". The word "die" implies it was alive. So, within this generally accepted definiton of life I referred to above, it cannot "die" ,but rather ceases to exist as a functioning unit.This occurs within a few hours after it was created. Likewise it cannot be "born". It is assembled. An organism is a living thing and HCV is clearly outside the generally accepted definition of life. I agree about evolution of the virus. Who knows ? There is no reason not to believe that hcv has been around in some form for millions of years. Alot of evolutionary change can occur over the eons, even through trial and error or natural selection. It is a frightening thought, but I agree about the possibilities that could lie ahead through evolution. HCV, or HIV becomeing air-borne viral agents is not a pleasant thought.
One of these links takes you to an actual photograph of HCV . In the animation if you look to the inside of the virion you can see the icosahedral shape.
"So, within this generally accepted definiton of life I referred to above, it cannot 'die', but rather ceases to exist as a functioning unit.This occurs within a few hours after it was created."
Please explain what "occurs within a few hours after it was created". Are you saying that the virus ceases to exist as a functioning unit at this point? I thought, since the virus does not live or die, it exists as long as the cell in which structure it has built itself exists. If not effected by tx that is.
After the virus is almost completely assembled it is just a few hours before the structure becomes unstable and ceases to function.
HCV doesn't wait around for liver cell death to occur. Every copy it replicates soon leaves the host cell, out looking for another hepatocyte to connect with. If attacked it will produce mutations (quasi-species at an alarming rate. Most of these QS exist but a few seconds. No one knows for sure what kills the liver cell. One popular theory holds it is our own immune system that does the actual killing of the hepatocyte.
Selenium acts as a "sort of birth control" or replication control for HCV as well as every other type of virus. Places in the world with low farmland concentrations of selenium have the highhest rates of HCV and HIV. Take your selenium! It also is crucial in the formation of the bodies most potent anti-oxidant which protects the liver also, glutathione.
One more tidbit. Everyone here always asks why not to take iron supplements. The answer is that iron speeds up replication of most viruses wheras selenium slows them down. Iron is like a type source of fuel for HCV and other viruses. On autopsy, death by liver scarring is accompanied by high iron concenbtrations in the liver and blood.
When the reserves in the body are low of selenium the virus frantically travels from cell to cell searching it out because it is crucial to its life cycle. So ,theory is, give the virus enough of the mineral it then doesn't feel the need to replicate so fast and therefore gives the body an easier time of removing it for good. Very simple concept. Dr. Richard Passwater has spent most of his career researching seleniums effect on viral infections.
Bernadean University, of Van Nuys, California, offered "nutritionist" and "cancer researcher" certificates, "master's degrees," and "Ph.D. degrees" in acupuncture, reflexology, iridology, naturopathy, homeopathy, and nutrition. Dietitian Virginia Aronson took the "nutritionist" course and reported that she got high grades on all tests whether she put down correct answers or not. In 1982, Bernadean was ordered to cease operations because it was not authorized by the state. However, it continued to operate and was recently renamed Burney Universitatis and Burney University. Bernadean's most prominent alumnus is "Dr." Richard Passwater, author of Supernutrition and several other books.
I wasn't attempting to discredit selenium although I am probably not as high on it as you are. But, when you drop a name like Richard Passwater you should know the guy's credentials or lack thereof. He has a PhD from a quack school. And he certainly does publish a lot - no doubt about that. And he no doubt sells a lot too but, not to me. Mike
Sorry about the smart *** comment but I wasn't aware of the mans credentials. The he fact remains that micro nutrients such as selnium play an enormous role in the viral cycle. It's such a cheap mineral that can protect the liver as well as potentially lowering viral loads and shouldn't be discredited.
thanks for that link - Anyone interested in a good review of why HCV is labeled a quasi-species (and the implications this has on resistance to designed drugs like vx-750) should also check out the Sci. Am article by M. Eigen cited in the references.
" my colleagues and I have recently introduced a concept, the quasispecies... a complex, self-perpetuating population of diverse, related entities that act as a whole".
life-death- born? the definitions of life remain to find universal agreement in the scientific community and in human society. smiles, i agree that the viron formed after replication could not in my mind be defined as "born" and this word would be an inappropiate yet often i have wondered how the virus has 'evolved' successful molecular tactics to survive in the human body. from my reading understanding, it self regulates replication in order to prevent the death of the cell but in its wake the cellular function is altered and the immune system detecting the abnormal cell begins a cascade of defense systems to destroy the altered cell. my other impression is that geno 1's represent the most recent form in the evolutionary time line of hcv and has improved ability to survive and alter the cells defense systems over the other geno's which makes it more difficult to eliminate.
now i wonder-how this polyprotein called hepc achieved the defense systems to survive in the body implying biological need to reproduce and protect its genome. could this indicate some sort of molecular 'thought'?
can a group of replicating proteins ever be considered alive? can a functioning replicating cell be considered alive?
another thought- IF we landed on Mars and scientists found viral proteins present in their samples or indeed 'any other polyprotein molecules' present would they claim they have found life? or at the very least, the building blocks of life.
a wonderful discussion here that will challenge our understanding of hcv and all viral proteins. i am quite enjoying this. thanks to you all for some interesting links!
I believe the HCV medical community refers to the virus as being supressed, not killed. That is maybe why we can not consider ourselves totally cured. I asked my GI on my first go around if I would be cured and he used the term permanantly supressed.
My Hep dude said "cured" "You're fired".... I kinda felt like I had been abandoned after having had such a close relationship with that curt, non-humourful man... But yanno - every day that goes by, I think to myself... Hey! YAHOOOOOOO!
It's a new lease on life.
And I'll take permanently supressed or cured. Either one is better than actively getting eaten by no-seeums-in your body - chowing down on your liver.
So it has evolved into an energy efficient virus thus replicating it self at a much lower rate of energy usage from that of the initial infection which at the time the immune system tried to fight the virus off (in the high energy state) that did give off some markers of infection but quickly adapted to its environment which required less energy to coexist with in the liver. Could it be that the collective low energy virus in which scaring is the by product still be able to emit enough (under radar) energy collectively to propel the chemical changes required to produce another host cell or cells.
My hep has been "permanently suppressed"...they can't find a trace and my LFT's are excellent...lord that was terrible medicine. Nevertheless my wife contracted the hcv before my treatment ...likely from treating a wound on my body? That is what the doctors said . Doctors say it almost always has to be some blood exposure but I think there is a possibility (and more doctors think so ) of sexual transmission. We have been having sex for 22 years (not continuously and not much anymore now that she blames me) and never once role-played vampirism but 22 years of intimate exposure? Something has to move.
Permanently suppressed but not cured? Forget having unprotected sex with your doctor or nurse....I understand they cannot practice if they have Hep c. No medical folks will take that risk.
I have heard they have meds that completely disappear the virus in weeks if not days but there is a high probability of cardiac damage. My wife responded well to the Combination treatment but developed very severe anemia so they took her off. However when they did they told her it was just a matter of a few years before new and much better treatment would be available.They recommended Milk Thistle in the interim.
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