Despite the success of the WHO-led smallpox eradication programme a quarter of a century ago, there remains considerable fear that variola virus, or other related pathogenic poxviruses such as monkeypox, could re-emerge and spread disease in the human population.
For several hundred years, a type of pox virus known as vaccinia has been saving lives. Today it is still proving useful to medicine.
In the brave new world of synthetic biology, scientists can now brew up viruses from scratch using the tools of DNA technology.
The latest such feat, published last month, involves horsepox, a cousin of the feared virus that causes smallpox in people. Critics charge that making horsepox in the lab has endangered the public by basically revealing the recipe for how any lab could manufacture smallpox to use as a bioweapon.
A study that brought horsepox back to life is triggering a new debate about the risks and power of synthetic biology.
It took Cortés two years, but he finally conquered the Aztec capital in August 1521. His ally in this fight was the European germs he and his men unwittingly brought with them.
Poxviruses are among the best known and most feared viruses. The Poxviridae family is currently divided in two subfamilies, named Entomopoxvirinae (insect-infecting viruses) and Chordopoxvirinae (vertebrate-infecting viruses), wherein the first is composed of three genera, and the latter contains 10 genera, in addition to two viral species that have yet to be classified into each subfamily
The first case of a wild red squirrel surviving the poxvirus carried by greys has been recorded by researchers who have discovered encouraging signs of resistance to the deadly disease.
Smallpox is but one of a family of viruses called orthopoxviruses. Another member of the family, vaccinia, so closely related that it’s used in the smallpox vaccine, causes a relatively mild infection in humans.
Perhaps the most concerning orthopoxvirus is monkeypox, a virus originating in African rodents that causes symptoms similar to smallpox in humans.
Poxviruses are brick or oval-shaped viruses with large double-stranded DNA genomes. Poxviruses exist throughout the world and cause disease in humans and many other types of animals. Poxvirus infections typically result in the formation of lesions, skin nodules, or disseminated rash.
Poxviruses, family Poxviridae, are responsible for a wide range of pox diseases in humans and other animals. Most notably variola virus (VARA), the cause of smallpox, was declared eradicated worldwide in 1980 by the World Health Organization. So what is the structure of poxvirus? And how many genus of poxvirus in the world?