International ME/CFS and FM Awareness Day Is On May 12, 2018
Thomas Hennessy, Jr., selected May 12th to be our international awareness day back in 1992. He knew that May 12th had also been the birthday of Florence Nightingale. She was the English army nurse who helped to found the Red Cross as well as the first school of nursing in the world.
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Synthetic Biology: Harvard professor claims, that complete immunity to any pathogen is possible

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Waverunner, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. Waverunner

    Waverunner Senior Member

    I just read a very interesting interview with George Church. He is a Professor of Genetics at Harvard and he made my day.

    If someone was going to tell you, that you could become immune to any virus, what would you think? There are so many different viruses on this planet, that it's impossible to become immune to all or even a few of them, right? They mutate all the time, so like with the flu shot, you would have to develop a vaccine over and over again because what might have worked today, might not work a few months later.

    Well, after reading the interview in a magazine, I have quite a different opinion. Becoming immune to all viruses would be quite a nice thing for people with ME/CFS.


    The final way that synthetic biology might be used in medicine is the most groundbreaking and revolutionary of all, for it involves modifying our own genomes. As mentioned earlier, one way to make us immune to pathogens would be to flip the handedness of our molecules, but it turns out that we needn’t do something this drastic in order to achieve the same result. For example, one way that we could render ourselves immune from viral diseases would be to alter the codons that viruses use to reproduce themselves in our cells (loc. 2259). Altering codons in our genome may sound like an extreme measure, but, as you’ll recall, multiple codons code for the same amino acid, so many of them are redundant; and therefore, altering them in particular ways would not necessarily result in any changes at the macro-level (in theory at any rate).
    Of course, none of this would be taken for granted. As Church explains, “making changes in our genetic code is not a matter to be taken lightly. The process would start with experiments on bacteria and proceed to ever more complex genomes to mammals before ever trying the procedure on human beings” (loc. 2266). In fact, experiments with bacteria have already begun (Church himself has been involved with these experiments [loc.2304 ]), and the process has been working in its early stages (loc. 2316).
    Significantly, if the process does work, it would not only render us immune to viruses, but the changes made to our genome would be so substantial that it would make it virtually impossible for any virus to evolve to overcome the road block put in its way (loc. 2336, 2376-85). What’s more, the modifications made in our genome would be such that the resulting immunity would naturally extend to future generations (loc. 2389).

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