- Jul 18, 2012
- Real Name
- no name
- Business Location
- United States
My degrees at NCSU were Microbiology and English. Two things that don't seem to have much in common at first glance... until you realize that both of them are the study of things that seem to exist for the sole purpose of breaking the rules.Truth is, this whole thing also shows how all of our medical advancement won't save you if you become infected.
The treatment is essentially fluids and medications and hope you don't die.
The virus is spreading worldwide too fast for a vaccine or anti-viral medicine to be formulated.
Really it's probably our good sanitation systems that is keeping it from infecting millions. Only thousands we know of have been infected at this point.
Viruses in particular are incredible, glorious, terrifyingly efficient constructs. Science still can't quite determine whether or not to classify them as living things, because they lack several of the qualities that we use to determine whether or not something classifies as a "living thing" or a "life form".
Viruses do not need to metabolise; they require no energy and produce no ATP. They have no "birth", "death", or "growth" stages. They are far more similar to seeds (which are inert until they land in an environment conducive to growth) than they are to any living thing.
And yet, the instant a virus touches a cell, it explodes into being.
Complex interactions begin at lightning speed, and suddenly this inert, seemingly dead mechanism roars into action and turns the cell into a reproductive factory. The viral DNA (or RNA) unfolds like an unzipped zipper, and begins re-writing the genes of the host cell.
And in the process, some of the copies are imperfect - a sequence gets dropped, or exchanged for another sequence out of order - and the viruses mutates... which is a phenomenon that we ONLY see in life forms.
If one looks at the most current maps of the COVID-19 outbreak, one sees a pattern quickly emerging that is breathtaking in its efficiency.
This microscopic organism with no motility (no means of propelling itself; no feet, no wings, not even a flagellum), which is so simple in comparison to us that it has only 30,000 base pairs in its entire gene sequence (humans have over 3 BILLION), is swiftly using our bodies to establish itself in every major port area around the globe.
It has a foothold on the shores of every continent that carries a stable human population. And it didn't need to lift a finger (which it doesn't have anyway) to do so.
I cannot help but be fascinated by these things. I admire them, I respect them, but I am not afraid of them. They are designed flawlessly, they do what Nature has created them to do with ruthless efficiency, and they have no emotions to get in the way of their function. We think of them as a destructive force, but the more we discover about them the more we realize that our relationship with them is symbiotic... in other words, we could not survive without them.
There's frankly a LOT we could learn from them.
Yes, this virus will impact our elderly, our young, and our ill more than it will the healthy and the strong.
As human beings, we are unique in our insistence in caring for those who cannot care for themselves. What we call "natural selection" in animals, we refuse to accept for ourselves because we see ourselves as 'more evolved than that'.
As a result, we have set up hospitals and assisted living facilities - artificial environments FULL of the sick, the wounded, and the compromised - in the hopes of healing those who would otherwise die... and in the process, we have given this virus an ideal playground upon which to unleash its machinery.