Biology » Viruses » Prevention and Treatment of Viral Infections

Summarizing Prevention and Treatment of Viral Infections

Summary

Viruses cause a variety of diseases in humans. Many of these diseases can be prevented by the use of viral vaccines, which stimulate protective immunity against the virus without causing major disease. Viral vaccines may also be used in active viral infections, boosting the ability of the immune system to control or destroy the virus. A series of antiviral drugs that target enzymes and other protein products of viral genes have been developed and used with mixed success. Combinations of anti-HIV drugs have been used to effectively control the virus, extending the lifespans of infected individuals. Viruses have many uses in medicines, such as in the treatment of genetic disorders, cancer, and bacterial infections.

Glossary

attenuation

weakening of a virus during vaccine development

back mutation

when a live virus vaccine reverts back to it disease-causing phenotype

gene therapy

treatment of genetic disease by adding genes, using viruses to carry the new genes inside the cell

oncolytic virus

virus engineered to specifically infect and kill cancer cells

phage therapy

treatment of bacterial diseases using bacteriophages specific to a particular bacterium

vaccine

weakened solution of virus components, viruses, or other agents that produce an immune response

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