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Surprise: Viruses Can Cause Disease during Latent Phase; New Evidence Supports Microcompetition Theory
Date:11/15/2013

Rochester, NY (PRWEB) November 15, 2013

The CDC says that over 776,000 people are newly infected with HSV-2 every year in the United States (1), according to a page last updated on February 11, 2013. The number of cases of HSV-1 is even higher. Doctors and scientists know that herpes viruses 1 and 2 establish a latent infection in the host that lasts for the life. However, these health professionals believe that latent herpes viruses cause disease only when they reactivate. That is, when they cause fever blisters, cold sores, etc.

This is a misconception.

Health professionals may then ask “How is this a misconception?” Or, more specifically, “How can a virus cause disease during latency?”

The CBCD reviews a study that summarizes the most recent discoveries regarding latent herpes viruses.

It should be noted that latency is an essential mechanism of survival for the virus. Without latency, the virus would disappear. Therefore, latency is a widespread mechanism used by many viruses. Authors of this study wrote that “The mission of HSV-1 and HSV-2 is to replicate and spread. To spread, the virus replicates vigorously at the portal of entry and is transmitted by physical contact between infected and uninfected individuals. In effect, the portal of entry into the body is also the portal of transmission. The natural history of HSV in humans strongly suggests that the virus would disappear or at least would be significantly less prevalent if it were not able to establish a latent, silent infection (1).”

However, during the latent phase, the virus is not dormant, it is still active. During the latent phase, it does not produce proteins or replicate in large numbers. It continues to make viral proteins and replicate.

Research shows that latent viruses (including latent herpes viruses) are not dormant. They show viral replication and transcription of viral proteins. For instance, researche
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