Beneficial viruses

Before moving further, I would like you to introduce to my little eBook on Beneficial viruses:

It is available at a negligible cost and can help in learning most of the information about beneficial viruses in an easy and interesting manner.


Beneficial VirusIt has been found that some viruses in one form or the other can be beneficial for the human body. Virotherapy is among one of the rising subjects in medical field. Virotherapy refers to therapy with the help of viruses.

Scientists found that infection with Hepatitis-A is helpful in suppressing the hepatitis-C infection and in the end may lead to clearance of Hepatitis-C virus from the body. On the other hand, a protein of Hepatitis-C virus causes the suppression of replication of HIV-1.

In another study, it has been found that the effects of Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can be changed by the infection of certain other viruses at almost the same time as the body is infected with HIV. It has also been found that further HIV infection is stopped, when the body is infected with cytomegalovirus i.e. a virus that causes enlargement of cells of surface tissues.

Certain viruses are found to work against cancer. In a research, it has been found that “Seneca Valley Virus-001” has 10,000 times more cancer killing activity than chemotherapeutics and has found no toxicity. In fact, viruses were in use for the treatment of cancer since 1940. First trials were found in 1956 for the treatment of cervical cancer. Moreover, RNA viruses are considered as the most important agents as anti-cancer.

Viruses become beneficial in the form of vaccine. Vaccinia virus is an important example in this case. It was found that infection with relatively mild cowpox made milkmaids more immune to virulent type of smallpox and then the knowledge was used for the preparation of vaccines.

Viruses have been found useful in the study of many aspects of genetics such as DNA replication, transcription, RNA processing, protein transport and immunology. Viruses are the most efficient means of gene delivery. Different viruses such as adenovirus, retrovirus, vaccinia virus and adeno-associated virus have been used for transgene expression. (Transgenic refers to genes from different species). This efficient gene delivery is used for the production of useful proteins i.e. gene therapy.

Similarly, viruses are in use for the treatment of genetic disorders such as baby in the combined immunodeficiency have been successfully treated with retroviruses.

Some viruses are the sources of enzymes such as RNA polymerases are obtained from phages and reverse transcriptases from retroviruses.

Some viruses like bacteriophages cause bacterial death. Viruses of such nature are among interest to researchers for the treatment of bacterial infections. Initially, it was on rising therapeutic strategies but when antibiotics came this strategy goes down and again the interest rose with the appearance of resistance of bacteria to antibiotics.

Now let me show a little introductory video to my little eBook on Beneficial viruses:


References and Further reading:

Carter, J. B. et. al. (2007). Virology: principles and applications.

Deterding, K. et. al. (2006). Hepatitis A virus infection suppresses hepatitis C virus replication and may lead to clearance of HCV. Journal of Hepatology, 45(6), 770-778.

Flichman, D. et. al. (1999). In vivo down regulation of HIV replication after hepatitis C superinfection. Medicina (B Aires), 59(4), 364-366.

Russell, S. J. (2002). RNA viruses as virotherapy agents. Cancer Gene Therapy, 9, 961–966.

Shen et. al. (2009). The challenge of discovering beneficial viruses. Journal of Medical Microbiology, 58(4), 531-532.

Venkataraman, et. al. (2008). Structure of Seneca Valley Virus-001, An oncolytic picornavirus representing a new genus. Structure, 16(10), 1555-1561.

Young, L. S. et. al. (2006). Viral gene therapy strategies: from basic science to clinical application. The Journal of Pathology, 208(2), 299-318.

King, C. A. et. al. (2006). Human cytomegalovirus modulation of CCR5 expression on myeloid cells affects susceptibility to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection. Journal of General Virology, 87(8), 2171-2180.

Usman Zafar Paracha

Usman Zafar Paracha is Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutics, in Hajvery University, Lahore, Pakistan.

  • kju

    how are viruses beneficial kids

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