Sexual Health news - Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Scientists examine the ability of a virus to evolve

 

Some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) - namely, HIV and gonorrhea - are difficult to treat because viruses and bacteria are able to evolve and evade treatments that were previously effective.

This fact underscores the importance of STD testing, but researchers are still working to identify the mechanisms by which pathogens can mutate to become more deadly in an effort to develop better treatments.

Researchers at Michigan State University recently conducted a study which revealed one way a virus is able to evolve. They performed their experiment using the Lambda virus, which is normally not harmful to humans.

The study authors said that Lambda is able to attack cells by hijacking bacteria, which in the case of this experiment was E.coli.

"We were surprised at first to see Lambda evolve this new function, this ability to attack and enter the cell through a new receptor - and it happened so fast," said co-author Justin Meyer.

This is just one small step toward better treatment of viruses. Individuals should remember to practice safer sex by using condoms and getting tested regularly for STDs in order to help prevent bacterial or viral infections.
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