A New Human Virus Discovered by Scientists

Back in the 70s and 80s, screening for blood donations was not as stern as today. Just about anyone who wanted to donate blood was able to do so. It’s for this reason why such part of the world of health and medicine saw the infection of thousands of individuals with hepatitis C and HIV. Needless to say, the infection spread from blood transfusion.

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Fortunately today, there is no need to fear receiving blood from an unknown donor. That’s because medical experts these days have formulated a more stringent and effective way to screen blood donors as well as agents in the blood that can be blamed for the spreading of infections and various health problems. Scientists, in addition, are also constantly on the lookout for agents that may get transmitted from people to people via blood transfusions.

Not too long ago, the said scientists came across a new agent that they had named human hepegivirus 1 or HHpgV-1. According to the experts, it’s true that this virus can be spread around through blood products. However, they stress that there is no need yet for people to come stepping foot inside hospitals to get vaccinated or log on the web to look for all sorts of home remedies for it.

You see, not all viruses cause diseases. In fact, some viruses, according to the experts, are useful. Some of them, for instance, can be used to kill off bacteria in the body. The said HHpgV-1, to date, is not associated with any kind of malady. What’s more, it was only discovered in a very small number of people, many of whom were able to get rid of the virus or live with it without experiencing any drawback.

The discovery of the virus was made when Columbia University scientists were conducting intensive investigations on virome changes in individuals who underwent blood transfusions. Blood samples were taken from a total of 44 individuals who have signed up for a study on blood transfusion-transmitted virus which lasted from 1974 to 1980. The scientists looked at samples of blood before and after transfusions.

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After going through so many samples, the experts came across a couple of people who had some telltale signs that they were infected with some sort of virus, although it was only seen on their blood samples after undergoing a blood transfusion. Further examination had shown that the virus is related to the hepatitis C virus and another one which is referred to by medical authorities as human pegivirus.

While it is true that the hepatitis C virus can wreak havoc to the liver, the human pegivirus is actually known to be kind of beneficial to individuals stricken with HIV. That’s because the virus contains 3 different types of protein molecules that not only prevent the replication of HIV, but also bolster the immune system of infected people, preventing the deadly disease from progressing uncontrollably.

Both individuals who seemed to have the human pegivirus, however, were negative for HHpgV-1 based on the blood samples obtained a day just before undergoing a blood transfusion and about 8 months after having it. That only proved a couple of things: (1) the virus could be acquired trough blood transfusions, and (2) the patients were able to clear it due to the fact that none of the infected persons presented any form of disease stemming from the said virus.

Making further inferences with HHpgV-1 is not a good idea most especially because further investigations on it via isolation or culture had not been conducted yet. Also, medical authorities do not really know how much of the general population has the said virus. No matter the outcome of further investigations done on it, tighter blood screening procedures will definitely ensure from the virus’ discovery.

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