Sunday, January 9, 2011

First human and plant virus identified?

Didier Raoult of the University of the Mediterranean in Marseilles, France, claims that the mild mottle virus that plagues peppers may be the cause of fever, aches, and itching symptoms suffered by humans. His claim is supported by somewhat weak evidence: plant viruses and commonly found in human feces (via ingested infected plant matter), but Raoult makes reference to the discovered of mild mottle virus in feces of persons presenting with symptoms of fever, abdominal pain, and skin irritation.  Robert Garry of Tulane University has pointed out that the virus lacks the “biochemical key” required for cellular entry, barring human infectivity. In response, Raoult has suggested that the reported illness may be caused by viral RNA interference, but that would suggest simply and biological “quirk”, rather than an example of viral evolution towards the use of human hosts. 


1 comment:

  1. plant viral evolution to utilizing human hosts would be really cool! I'm curious about the mechanisms of viral RNA interference.