bioart blog

A Biological Arms Race

How your immune system competes with viruses in the body and the role of vaccines within it

 

By Genefer Baxter, IMRSV Arts

Just like a competition between nations for superiority in the development of weapons, your body is waging its own arms race. There is a constant struggle going on between your immune system and foreign invaders such as viruses and bacteria; both sides try their best to outdo each other.

Modern science has developed antibiotics to fend off various germs, but viruses are a little trickier. Our best weapon against deadly diseases such as influenza and smallpox (which are now close to extinction) has been the vaccine. In this article, I’ll take a closer look at why viruses are so interesting and how modern science is working with them.

 

Viruses

 

As mentioned above, vaccinations are our best modern defense against viruses. This is because viruses differ from any other type of micro-invader.

For starters, they are tiny; tinier than most bacteria. In fact, viruses consist of only a shell of protein and a core of either RNA or DNA.

 

Viruses also cannot replicate without a host. This means that they can only reproduce by attaching themselves to cells, which is why they are not considered to be “alive”. After latching on, the virus will reprogram their host to make copies of themselves until the host explodes and dies, or they will transform their host into cancerous cells.

 

In fact, viruses are so unique that an entire field has been created to study and utilize these organisms. They have thus been used extensively in areas such as cancer research, genetic engineering, gene therapy. nanotechnology, agriculture, and even warfare.

 

Where do they come from?

 

Viruses come into the human population at random. Most documented cases have come from animals such as bats, camels and monkeys. Viruses like the flu are also thought to come from high concentrations of animals such as livestock (cows, chickens, and pigs).

These viruses can spread via mosquitoes, which transfer infected blood from animal to humans through their bites. Climate change is increasingly concerning for this reason, as mosquitoes thrive in warmer environments.

 

Viruses are a tough problem to tackle, which is why scientists have turned to vaccinations to combat them.

 

(More on vaccines coming soon.)

 

Conclusions

 

During our time at Integral Molecular, IMRSV Arts aims to understand more about how human bodies fight off diseases, companies like Integral Molecular are working to combat them. Our mission is to open a dialogue between biotech companies and average citizens.

That starts with getting both parties in the same room. We plan to schedule a discussion, where you will be able to visit Integral and ask your questions surrounding biotech and vaccination. Our aim is to facilitate a conversation to clarify questions so that people can make informed decisions about their health!

 

Follow this page to see the announcement of our event!