Friendly Viruses: How To Unlock The Potential Of The Human Virome

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Ira Pastor, ideaXme exponential health ambassador, interviews Dr. Jack T. Stapleton, MD, Professor of Internal Medicine - Infectious Diseases, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Iowa College of Medicine, and Director of the Levitt Center for Viral Pathogenesis.

Ira Pastor Comments:

On today’s show we are going to jump back into the theme of viruses and the human virome.

Viruses are infective agents that typically consist of a nucleic acid molecule in a protein coat, and which is able to multiply only within the living cells of a host. The virome defines the collection of all viruses that make up a specific viral community.

On a few recent shows we’ve touched on some interesting topics in relation to both the beneficial therapeutic applications of certain viruses (thinking about our discussions surrounding bacteriophage therapies with Dr. Steffanie Strathdee at UC San Diego) as well as some of the pathological states where viruses may play a much more prominent role in disease progression than previously thought (per our discussions with Prof. Ruth Itzhaki from University of Manchester and her study of the viral connections in Alzheimer's Disease).

Viral Co-Infection

Today we are going to delve into the fascinating topic of "viral co-infection."

Co-infection is defined the simultaneous infection of a host by multiple pathogen species. In virology, co-infection includes simultaneous infection of a single cell by two or more virus particles. An example is the co-infection of liver cells with Hepatitis B virus and Hepatitis D virus, which can arise incrementally by initial infection followed by super-infection.

Co-infection is of particular human health importance because pathogen species can interact within the host. The net effect of co-infection on human health is thought to be usually negative (known as "syndemism", which is synergistic event that can cause super-infections), but interactions can also have very positive effects when one species suppresses the virulence or colonisation of another.

Dr. Jack Stapleton

Today we are joined by Dr. Jack T. Stapleton, MD, Professor of Internal Medicine - Infectious Diseases, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Iowa College of Medicine, and Director of the Levitt Center for Viral Pathogenesis

Dr. Stapleton's research interests focus on the molecular biology, epidemiology and effects of co-infection of Hepatitis C virus, Human GB virus type C (GBV-C; also called Hepatitis G virus), and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

In addition, he has clinical studies under way related to antiviral therapy and the management and therapy of HIV, Hepatitis C virus, and GBV-C.

On this episode we will here from Dr. Stapleton:

About his background, how he developed an interest in medicine, infectious disease, and how he moved into the very interesting area of viral co-infection dynamics. His views on the "Beneficial Virome." His discovery of the unique and beneficial properties of GBV-C co-infection. Therapeutic opportunities related to viral co-infection dynamics. Finally, about the current state of treatments, cures, and vaccines as it pertains to HIV / AIDS.

Credits: Ira Pastor interview video, text, and audio.

Follow Ira Pastor on Twitter:@IraSamuelPastor

If you liked this interview, be sure to check out ourinterview with Professor Ruth Itzhaki exploring the viral causes of Alzheimer's!

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