Interesting newsgroup!

Graeme Price g.e.price at bham.ac.uk
Sun Jan 7 10:20:56 EST 1996


In article <4coeal$m58 at newsbf02.news.aol.com>, knowitall2 at aol.com
(KnowItAll2) wrote:

> Also, this may sound stupid, but I'm wondering...  In The Hot Zone,
> Preston mentions that UV light degenerates viruses.  Why, then, isn't a
> virus-infected person's blood exposed to UV light?   (I know my theory
> must be wrong; I just don't know why)
> 
> Also, since baboons are immune to HIV, have scientists found why?
> 

The UV idea sounds pretty neat until you realise what UV light actually
does. It has a nasty tendency to cross-link nucleic acids and proteins and
induces mutations in DNA sequences (remember humans get sunburn and skin
cancer from excessive UV light exposure). So the answer is that yes, UV
will inactivate viruses in the blood... but it will also kill off all the
white blood cells (which form an essential part of the immune system) or
at the very least damage them by inducing mutations - which may lead to
cancer!

As far as HIV and baboons goes, there are lot of people here who know far
more about this than I do, but HIV is *Human* Immunodeficiency Virus.
There are related viruses which infect monkeys (Simian immunodeficiency
Virus: SIV). Remember that although humans and baboons are something in
the order of 95%+ similar in DNA sequences that have been examined, the
two species are different. One of the differences may be in the structure
of the receptor needed for viral entry into cells, but there could be a
whole load of other reasons as well.

Graeme

-- 
Graeme Price
Microbial Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology Group, 
School of Biological Sciences, Biology West Building,
University of Birmingham,
Edgbaston, Birmingham,
West Midlands, B15 2TT.
United Kingdom.

Tel. (+44) (0)121 414 6555
Fax. (+44) (0)121 414 6557
E-mail g.e.price at bham.ac.uk



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