At war

I was extra busy last week, working late into the night on a few occasions, and as so often happens to people who push their bodies too hard I have succumbed to a virus.  (That is, I’m assuming it’s a virus, though it might be bubonic plague.  Except no telltale buboes.)

I have to admit to a fascination with viruses.  Even while trying to rest and groaning in discomfort from the symptoms of an influenza virus there’s a part of my mind engaged in wondering, what’s going on in my cells?  What strain is this – what proteins are spiked along the surface, and why is it that I am susceptible to this particular strain but not another?  Why does Joe have symptoms but not Jane, even though they live together in the same house, sleep in the same bed, and regularly engage in other involving exchange of bodily fluids?  In short, what is it about the receptors on one cell in my body which made it receptive to the virion?

As a consequence of this fascination, I find I cannot hate viruses.  Not even the virus currently inside my body, attempting its version of world domination by finding good cells in which it can replicate.

I have a fever, and I know it’s generally functional for this to occur.  The symptoms I experience are in large part a result of my generally-healthy body’s attempt to return to homeostasis.  Sure, if my temp remains high for an extended period of time I must do something to prevent the types of serious damage that can occur (think of, the brain boiling – which would be a very bad thing).  My general sense of fatigue, too, means my cells are at battle against the invading army.  I know my army will ultimately prevail, and simply need to be patient.

I don’t know exactly why I felt compelled to write about this.  Maybe it’s the fever giving dictation.

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2 responses

  1. I actually follow your logic on this. I’ve always particularly admired the rabies virus, which can lie dormant in the host for a very long time before travelling to the brain. I think it is particularly clever of it to provoke biting behaviour just before the host dies so that it will be passed on to another host. Viruses are pretty smart, eh?

  2. Indeed! They are the ultimate survivors. This is one of the reasons they are so incredibly fascinating.

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