Ebola Virus Essay, Research Paper
Ebola VirusDescriptions of the Ebola virus:The Ebola virus is a complicating object (viruses not beingconsidered living creatures, so it is an object). Named after the EbolaRiver, the Ebola virus particle contains seven different proteins of whichonly three have vaguely known purposes. While the exact function of theother four proteins are still unknown, we do know that they attack immunesystem. Ebola is known to jump hosts and known to be lethal to bothmonkeys and humans. Similar to HIV, it will destroy your immune systemmaking it useless to fight off not only the ebola virus, but any othervirus that might enter your body. There are five different strains fromthe Ebola family identified being Ebola Zaire, Sudan, Reston, Marburg andthe latest (found in December 1995) Tai. Zaire, being the most dangerous, killing 90% of it’s victims. It is related to measles, mumps, rabies andthe parainfluenza virus. The first known emergence of the Ebola Zairevirus was in September of 1976 making the virus roughly 20 years old, butthe genetic code inside the virus is a strand of RNA which is thought tobe the oldest coding mechanism for life. Since the earth’s primordialocean (which came into existence about four and a half billion years ago) may have contained life forms based on RNA, this could mean that Ebola isvery old. So while the virus has only been seen in existence for 20 years, it could be as ancient as the earth itself. The symptoms of this filovirus are simply horrid. As earliermentioned, the virus attacks the immune system crippling it’s ability todefend against viral attack. The incubation period can be anywhere between 2-21 days and you will usually start by getting a headache that doesn’t seem to go away with medication. There seems to be pain around your eyeballs and your temples that gets gradually worse. Then you become nauseated and vomit often. In the later stages, the vomit will even become black known as vomito negro. The eyes will turn red and the skin yellow with red spots , which later grow, appearing all over. In males, the testicles will swell up and turn black and blue and in females, the virus seems to cause pain and marks on the genitals. The virus also seems to damage the brain causing certain personality changes. The connective tissue in your face will melt causing droopiness in the muscles of your face. As vomiting continues, blood vessels in the nose break causing non-stop nose bleeds. While many things show on the outside of the body, many things will also happen on the inside. Blood begins to clot lodging the bloodstream in many areas. Blood supply will be cut of to many areas of the bodysuch as the intestinal muscles, which will die without blood, as a resultof the clots. The last stage of virus infection is known as the “crash” of the victim. The spine goes limp and the victim goes into shock. Along with the brain, the liver melts. The linings of the intestines come off and blood will come out of every orifice of the human body until finally the victim dies. Many aspects of the Ebola virus are still unintelligible,including the modes of transmission. Many researchers believe that thevirus travels through direct contact of blood and bodily fluids of it’s host. It also seems to travel in the uncoagulated blood and slimes from the host, this being a great problem in Zaire since it was tradition for people to kiss the dead, many of the dead being victims of Ebola. It is also predicted that Ebola may have a slight chance of traveling through air. This was accidentally found out (in the book) when control monkeys without the virus suddenly died of Ebola. It is believed that when the caretakers washed the cages with hoses, it created an aerosol of droplets which contained the virus and which the control monkeys breathed in. However there hasn’t been much evidence of Ebola traveling through the air and many people have been in close contact with Ebola victims, breathing in “their” air without ever catching the virus.So where could such a virus come from? Yes, this is still notperfectly know yet either. The most probable birth place of the Ebola seems to be in Africa. Wither this virus came from the dung of huge elephant orof a small mosquito or even an animal at all is still unknown. Oneprediction is that the Ebola virus originated from Kitum cave on MountElgon somewhere in Uganda. Two victims of Ebola were known to have been inthat cave before crashing with the virus. Yet it is very difficult to find
the exact organism which spread the virus to humans. Kitum cave is filledwith different creatures including bats, bushbuck, red duikers, monkeys,baboons, genet cats, rats, shrews, occasionally elephants and many speciesof insects. Pinpointing the exact origin is very difficult with such awide variety possible sources. Description of 2 Technologies used in the bookOne very important technology that was used in the book was theelectron microscope. Without this instrument, viruses like Ebola wouldnot even be able to be seen or studied. It is a large piece of equipment using electron beams to magnify an object and show it on a screen orpicture (like the picture on the cover of this report). The electronmicroscope was also very important in finding out wither an unknownsubstance was Ebola since Ebola had the “cheerio” or “worm” like form(like in most filoviruses). The electron microscope is also used in thestudies of many other small organisms to small to see under a lightmicroscope. Another benefit is that when the pictures are transferred tocomputers, many computer programs can be used to study the exact properties of organisms on a 3-D image. Another technology used in the book was the space suit and the racal suit. These are full body protective suits that are used in level 4 (themost dangerous) work with viruses. They are air tight to prevent infiltration of viruses so oxygen is received through a pump hooked to the suit blowing oxygen into the suit. The racal suit is a portable, positive-pressure space suit. The air supply is battery-powered. The racal suit is used in level for fieldwork (like at Kitum cave) where viruses or other biohazards may be airborne. The application of science and technology in solving problems related to viruses are numerous. Like mentioned above, it prevents infection ofviruses while they are being studied. With technology, it is possible toactually see viruses which are otherwise invisible to the naked eye. Scientific methods are much more organized when performing experiments with viruses for example, the use of control monkeys for comparisons with monkeys with viruses. Science has an almost countless number of applications inthe research of viruses. Discussion”…the earth is mounting an immune response against human species.” In my opinion, this statement shows how the earth, in a way is protectingitself from it’s own destruction. The overpopulation of this world causesgreat problems to the natural environment including many types of pollution, destruction of natural habitats for living space, the overconsommation oflimited natural resources for convenience such as minerals and oil and many others. Like all living creatures, the earth, adapts to harsh situations. The production of viruses in this world is to control the immensepopulation by killing many victims for the good of the entire planet. Without this “immune response against human species”, the destruction of the earth would be certain. In a way, the inability to find cures for suchdiseases may be a positive thing for this earth. I believe that we play two roles in the emergence of new viruses. We as humans our responsible for the emergence of viruses in both anindirect and direct way. We continue to reproduce at a rapid rate. Reproduction is natural in all living creatures but viruses must continue to appear to control the population. In this way, we do not purposely create viruses. It is more of an unseen problem of us humans. Most of us do not understand that all living things will defend themselves, and the earth,filled with billions of living creatures, will most definitely defend itself when needed. The way we are directly linked to the emergence of newviruses is through what I believe are man made viruses. Many viruses havebeen used for the uses biological weapons and warfare. While there havebeen no proven viruses actually created by man, it is my belief that therehave been many viruses created by man, including the AIDS virus itself. Ibelieve, even if there have been no viruses proven to be created by man,that with today’s technology and research in biological warfare, we canpurposely create new viruses. I find it very ironic that the humanpopulation tries so desperately to find cures to deadly diseases yet atthe same time tries just as desperately to create viruses that will domore damage then the same ones we try to find cures for today.