Causes and Treatments of Virus Infections
1. Introduction
The term “virus” is often used to describe many different kinds of infectious agents. Some of these agents do not have the characteristics of life, while others, such as bacteria, fungi, and parasites, can be killed by medications. Nowadays, another class of infectious agents is increasingly recognized as causes of severe diseases in animals and human beings. These infections are difficult to control, and scientists are still sorting out the health consequences infections might have for people. The infections on viruses are one of the serious health problems. Therefore, this research essay focuses on the causes and treatments of virus infections. Throughout the essay, we start with the introduction of virus infections, then the causes and the treatments. So at the first section, we should explain how the virus infections spread, because the more people understand about the transmission routes, the more effectively they can prevent the spread of the infections. The essay gives a detailed and a wide explanation about what is a virus, the general operation of the virus inside the human cells, the different kinds of virus infections and the history of the virus. We will explain that not all the virus can cause the disease. When we reach to the part which is the structure of the virus, there is a concise explanation with a labeled diagram. The next part of the essay explains the how do the virus cause the diseases. This part gives a detailed explanation about the different mechanisms of the virus that leads to the specific disease. As for exploring well on this part, six different types of mechanism have been listed out with its briefly explanation. Every mechanism is explained with the help of the examples so that the reader can understand well. We use ‘adaptive immune response’ as one of the example. Adaptive immune response is a type of the virus persist the immune systems. The patients normally have errors between the normal cells and the pathogens that display the abnormal cell surfaces. Because of this immune responses are produced by the body to provide the defense and protection against the virus. I think this example illustrates that how the virus cause the diseases well, as it links very good between the analysis and the specific thesis of the disease. After that, the entire essay will illustrate very well that what are the treatments that available for the virus infections such as medication, alternative medicine, home remedy and etc. We also focus on how the treatments help to make the diseases in different types. For example, how do the antiviral medications work in with explaining and analyzing its components and their operations. Another type of the treatment can be introduced as the modern medicines. Modern medicine nowadays actually use the genetic engineering method to produce the virus vaccines. I think the essay can look at a wider picture and a forward looking of the modern medicine, so after the explanation, we should conclude it. Such kind of the comprehensive facts fulfilling the essay useful and knowledgeable.
1.1 Background of Virus Infections
The awareness of virus infections goes way back before the support of modern technology, and the understanding of viruses as the main cause of such infections is a recent phenomenon. The traditional understanding of virus infections is through the miasma theory, which blames bad, poisoned air for the spread of the infection. In ancient times, people believed that virus infections were caused by poisonous gases escaping from the ground, causing diseases and resulting in the widespread of epidemics. For example, the Black Death pandemic from 1347 to 1350 was thought to be caused by some unknown foul-smelling air. It was not until 1892 when a Russian scientist, Dmitry Ivanovsky, found out that the mosaic disease in tobacco plants was caused by an organism that is smaller than bacteria and can pass through a fine porcelain filter that the modern understanding of virus infections started to emerge. His work was expanded by the Dutch botanist, Martinus Willem Beijerinck, and by 1935 the term “virus” was coined by a few scientists to represent the type of organisms that destroy living cells. Nowadays, the existence of virus infections is well known, and a virus is identified as a small infectious agent that can only replicate inside the cells of another organism. The infected cells will eventually be killed off as they shut down their usual cell functions and become overrun by the replicated virus cells. This, in turn, will lead to the typical symptoms of a virus infection such as fever, headaches, runny nose, coughing, and sneezing. The immune system has been known to play a vital role in defending an individual from virus infections. As long as a person has a healthy immune system, the virus infections caused by different types of viruses can be kept at bay. However, the various methods in which the virus may infect their host cells and multiply make it difficult to develop effective treatments. In the next section, the causes of virus infections will be explored in the bid to lay the foundations for a better understanding of how these infections can be prevented or treated.
1.2 Purpose of the Research Essay
In this research, the focus is put on the viruses and also the virus infections. It is a kind of microbe and it can only be proliferated inside of the living cell. Most of the viruses have either RNA or DNA as their genetic material. They also have a protein coat surrounding the genetic material. The essay has a lot of purposes and it also explains inferences in many different aspects such as understanding the impact of virus on society and also in the laboratory that is used to diagnose virus infections, in the treatment of patients who are infected by viruses, and also in educating society about virus infections and about how to protect themselves from viruses. The research has to be very specific and very detailed every time in every single purpose in order to fulfill the requirements. For example, in the laboratory that is used to diagnose virus infections, the essay has to mention the name of the virus, signs and symptoms that are associated with virus infections, type of specimen that is taken from the patient, the methods that are used in the laboratory to identify the virus, the possible outcomes of the result, and the drugs that can be given to the infected patients. Also, it has to mention the equipment that is used in the laboratory such as light microscope, transmission electron microscope, auto pipettes, incubators, and so on. The essay has to explain what the function of those instruments is in diagnosing virus infections. By doing so, the essay helps to understand the complex nature of the medical practice in the laboratory when dealing with virus infections. And for those who are reading the essay, they can also understand why different laboratories might use different techniques in diagnosing the virus.
2. Causes of Virus Infections
First, virus infections can be caused by several different factors. One of the most important causes is the route by which a virus enters the body. There are many different ways that viruses can be spread. For example, some viruses are spread by coming into contact with a contaminated surface, such as a door knob or counter top, and then touching one’s face. Herpes simplex virus, or HSV, is an example of a virus that can be spread this way. Other viruses are spread through the air by the coughs and sneezes of a sick person. Influenza viruses are well-known examples that are spread in this way. And some viruses are spread by insects or other animals known as vectors. Vector-borne viruses include the viruses that cause West Nile disease and Zika fever. These viruses are transmitted when an insect, such as a mosquito, bites a person and passes on the virus from the insect’s own infected blood. Another group of viruses can be transmitted during some medical procedures, such as blood transfusions or organ transplantations, when instruments used in the procedures are not properly sterilized. A well-known example of a bloodborne virus is HIV, which is one of the deadliest viruses worldwide. When a virus gets into the body, most of the time the immune system effectively neutralizes the invader before it can cause disease. However, certain factors can make an individual more susceptible to a viral infection. For example, a person may be immune-compromised outside the body, such as with a genetic immune disorder or as a result of another illness like cancer. This could increase the likelihood of a virus being able to successfully invade the body and cause illness. Inside the body, a different set of factors can affect an individual’s immunity against viruses. The phrase “viral tropism” refers to the tendency of certain viruses to infect some organs or tissues and not others. Additionally, some viruses mutate (change their genetic composition) very quickly, meaning that the immune system has greater difficulty recognizing and neutralizing the changing forms of the virus. Rubeola, the virus responsible for causing measles, mumps, and rubella, is an example of a virus that can evade the memory immune response by frequently changing surface proteins. This is why someone can get the measles once and be protected against it (by the memory immune response) for the rest of their life. However, the measles only has to strike once, just before the immune system recognizes it as a threat, and there can be a measles infection. Finally, some viruses require very specific environmental conditions to survive and be transmitted. For example, many viruses prefer a specific temperature range. This is one reason why respiratory viruses can cause so much trouble in the winter, when the air is cold and dry and people tend to spend more time indoors with others. All of these causes create a complex set of factors that contribute to when and how virus infections occur and are transmitted.
2.1 Transmission Routes
On the same note, vertical transmission of an infection occurs when a causative agent is transmitted from a mother to her child during the prenatal, perinatal, or the postnatal period. Yes, it is possible for a mother who is infected to pass the virus to the baby before it is born, during the birthing process, or through breastfeeding after the child is born. Well-known viruses that are transmitted vertically include: human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) – which is the causative agent of AIDS, hepatitis B virus (HBV), and varicella zoster virus.
On the other hand, blood-borne transmission is one of the most efficient mechanisms for passing infections from one individual to the other. It takes place when infected blood or other blood products enter the bloodstream of a susceptible person either through a needle-stick injury or through direct contact of a mucous membrane or damaged skin with infected blood. Given the magnitude of risks associated with blood-borne transmission, it is a standard practice in the World Health Organization to utilize Universal Precautions to prevent such transmission. Universal Precautions are methods of infection control in which all human blood and certain human body fluids are treated as if known to be infectious for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Hepatitis B Virus, and other blood-borne pathogens.
Airborne transmission is where the causative agent of an infection remains suspended in the air on dust particles or respiratory droplets. A good example of a virus that is transmitted through the airborne route is the varicella zoster virus, the causative agent of chickenpox. This mode of virus transmission is very worrisome as it can lead to the quick spread of an infection causing mild to moderate disease that lasts for a short time to a large number of people, potentially leading to outbreaks of an airborne infection.
Yes, virus infections can be transmitted through various routes, and prevention strategies must be adapted to tackle each kind of transmission route. Among the well-recognized transmission routes for virus infections include airborne transmission, blood-borne transmission, vertical transmission, fecal-oral transmission, and others.
At the onset of infection prevention, it is crucial to recognize that virus infections are only sustained if there is a sufficient number of susceptible hosts in a given population. Appropriate interventions at any stage of virus transmission will lower the chances of an infected individual transmitting the virus to a susceptible host. The potential links that connect the current and the next host through which the virus passes from one individual to another define what is referred to as the “epidemiologic Triad” in infection cycle models. These links could be the environmental elements of the virus and the mode of transmission.
A critical concern in the fight against virus infections is to understand the routes through which viral agents are transmitted from one host to another. This is because without such knowledge, any chances of interrupting the epidemiological chain of virus infections will remain minimal. As I will discuss in the subsequent sections of this essay, breaking the transmission cycle is vital to improving the prevention and control strategies of virus infections.
2.2 Host Factors
The second key factor contributing to susceptibility is the host. The body possesses a range of protective factors that act to prevent or limit the infection. These include physical barriers (such as the skin and mucous membranes), cell-mediated responses, and antibody-mediated responses. In terms of physical barriers (which are the first line of defense against infection), the importance of intact skin and mucous membranes in preventing viral infections cannot be overemphasized. Interestingly, the average person has a total skin surface area of between 16 and 22 square feet, most of which is exposed to the environment. Some important immune cells that reside within the skin (known as Langerhans cells) and their role in viral infections are currently being investigated. It has been suggested that infection of these cells with certain viruses can cause abnormal growth of affected skin cells (known as keratinocytes) and the development of conditions such as warts. Mucous membranes are also likely to have a protective effect against viral infection. These membranes line cavities that are exposed to the environment, such as the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. The presence of mucus acts to inhibit infection by entrapping microorganisms that enter the body. In addition, secreted immunoglobulins (antibodies) provide a further line of defense within the mucus layer. For example, secretory IgA is the primary immunoglobulin found in mucus and acts to prevent the attachment of pathogens to host cells. However, if the integrity of these physical barriers is compromised, then the chance of a viral infection establishing itself will significantly increase. This is particularly relevant to viral infections, as once the viral particle has entered a host cell it can be very difficult to eradicate.
2.3 Environmental Factors
Environmental factors have also been studied as potential causes for infectious diseases. Whereas genetic susceptibility refers to variations in the genetic sequence in our DNA, environmental factors can be diverse and there are many different types. One common type of environmental factor is the physical environment. For example, overcrowding and poor housing conditions can create a breeding ground for infectious diseases. This could be due to a number of reasons, such as households having closer contact when living in overcrowded conditions. Also, poor housing conditions can lead to a higher chance of the environment being contaminated, for example through feces of infected rodents. Another example is changes in the natural environment, which can affect how easily an organism that causes disease survives and grows. The natural environment can be defined as the air, water, soil and living organisms in ecosystems that are separate from human inputs. A third example is global changes to the environment. These changes can be driven by natural processes such as the El Nino Southern Oscillation cycle or by human activity. These changes can affect the presence and spread of diseases. For example, rising global temperatures can change the natural environment by creating new habitats for organisms that cause disease or by making the environment more suitable for these organisms, thus affecting the pattern of disease. While the studies of genetic susceptibility for infectious diseases have been extensively studied in the past years, understanding of environmental factors is currently limited. However, it is now widely accepted that both genetic susceptibility and environmental factors contribute to the incidence of infectious diseases. By studying and gaining in-depth knowledge in these two aspects, treatment and prevention strategies for infectious diseases can be developed. In the next part of the essay, we will move on to discuss the different types of treatments that are available in the market for virus infections.
3. Treatments of Virus Infections
Antivirals are a type of medication often used to treat infections caused by viruses. Unlike antibiotics, which are used to treat bacterial infections, antiviral medications are designed to go after the virus itself. Most antivirals work by stopping the virus from multiplying – that is, they suppress the virus and its ability to reproduce. This is fundamentally different from the way that antibiotics work – antibiotics work by attacking the bacteria that is released by the immune system in its fight against an infection. In other words, antibiotics are only needed when the body’s immune response has allowed a bacterial infection to take hold. Conversely, antivirals are needed when a virus has truly established itself within the body and is starting to cause effects. Vaccination can also be used to prevent certain viral infections. Vaccines may contain a small amount of the virus and work by stimulating the immune system to recognize a virus and start producing antibodies against it. This means that if a person is then exposed to the virus in the future, their immune system will recognize it and immediately produce the appropriate antibodies, which will help to fight off the infection. In effect, vaccines help to build immunity in the body against specific viruses so that the body is then able to resist an attack by the actual virus. Some antivirals are also used as a form of preventative medicine, for example in some situations where there is a risk of a flu outbreak. In such cases, a doctor may prescribe antivirals to be taken by people who have not yet developed the infection as a way of reducing the risk of the infection spreading in the first place.
3.1 Antiviral Medications
These are just some examples of why antiviral prescriptions are so varied, and they can clearly depend on a large number of individual and social factors.
For instance, genital herpes is a common viral infection that affects men and women. As there is currently no cure, antiviral medications are used to reduce the number of recurrences and the severity of each episode throughout a patient’s life. Some people prefer to take medication only when they experience the symptoms of infection, while others use the antivirals continuously as a preventative option. However, when research has specifically looked into how effective intermittent antiviral treatment is, it has shown that for genital herpes, the continuous option is the more successful of the two. This is important to bear in mind when taking into account patients’ personal preferences, but ultimately, people who have intermittent episodes are prescribed a 5-day course, which is effective in stopping the spread of the virus.
Once a person with a viral infection comes into a doctor’s surgery and gets diagnosed with a virus, the GP is faced with the difficult decision about whether or not to prescribe antiviral medication. It’s not necessary for a patient to be prescribed antiviral medication, even if it is available. In healthy adults, the immune system often fights off a virus in a week or two and the symptoms simply disappear. However, some people like the elderly or sick patients run the risk of serious complications from infections. In these cases, it may be appropriate to prescribe an antiviral medication in the hope it will stop the virus multiplying and prevent the development of serious complications in these high-risk patients.
Many antiviral medications are not licensed for use in the UK. This is because to be granted a license to prescribe a medication, a large number of clinical trials and research need to have been conducted. It’s often hard to get enough people who have a certain but uncommon condition into clinical trials, so some antivirals that may be effective haven’t been granted a license.
Nowadays, the most common treatment for viruses comes from medication that’s prescribed by a general practitioner. These medications are known as antiviral drugs and they’re a bit different from the antibiotic medication that’s used to treat bacterial infections. Antibiotics actually kill viruses, whereas antiviral medications stop them from multiplying. The body’s immune system can then have a chance to fight off the infection.
3.2 Vaccination
As soon as the virus was discovered, many scientists and doctors started to develop ways to vaccinate in order to prevent serious outbreaks faced in various periods in history. To this date, vaccination is considered to be one of the most successful ways to prevent large amounts of population from being infected with the virus. The ultimate goal of vaccination is to eliminate disease on individual and global levels – something that no other treatment can achieve. It’s quite a sophisticated process, though. The vaccine often contains a harmless version of the virus that is given to individuals. Because this virus is harmless, our body’s immune system will generate a response against this virus, recognizing the virus in the future and eliminating it in the process. Also, the immune system remembers the hostile virus that is being vaccinated against. As a result, the body can produce a much faster and more efficient response when it is exposed to the real harmful virus in the future. This mechanism forms the basis of vaccination. As soon as the virus was discovered, many scientists and doctors started to develop ways to vaccinate in order to prevent serious outbreaks faced in various periods in history. To this date, vaccination is considered to be one of the most successful ways to prevent large amounts of population from being infected with the virus. The ultimate goal of vaccination is to eliminate disease on individual and global levels – something that no other treatment can achieve. It’s quite a sophisticated process, though. The vaccine often contains a harmless version of the virus that is given to individuals. Because this virus is harmless, our body’s immune system will generate a response against this virus, recognizing the virus in the future and eliminating it in the process. Also, the immune system remembers the hostile virus that is being vaccinated against. As a result, the body can produce a much faster and more efficient response when it is exposed to the real harmful virus in the future. This mechanism forms the basis of vaccination.
3.3 Immunotherapy
Immunotherapy, also called biologic therapy, is a type of cancer treatment designed to boost the body’s natural defenses to fight the cancer. It uses substances either made by the body or in a laboratory to improve or restore immune system function. Immunotherapies can be broadly classified into active and passive, with cancer vaccines being the most common active immunotherapy. Cancer vaccines target cancer antigens – substances that the body recognizes as foreign or potentially harmful but are produced by cancer cells. By introducing these substances into the body, the immune system is alerted to their existence and can start to target both the antigen and any cancer cells that display it. Although the development of cancer vaccines has been an area of increasing research interest, few have made it to market. By contrast, passive immunotherapies involve the transfer of immune system components, such as T cells or antibodies, into a cancer patient to help recognize and destroy cancer cells. Checkpoint inhibitors and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy are examples of passive immunotherapy. Checkpoint inhibitors essentially block proteins that inhibit the immune system, thereby enabling the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells. On the other hand, CAR T cell therapy involves extracting T cells from a patient’s blood and then engineering them to make a specific receptor that can recognize and attack cancer. These modified T cells are then multiplied in the laboratory and infused back into the patient’s body. While many immunotherapies have shown great promise in the treatment of cancer, it is important to recognize that they still cause a risk of potential side effects, some of which are severe and possibly fatal. As immunotherapy can essentially make the immune system attack cancer and normal body tissues, significant damage to varying organs is a possibility. Some common side effects include skin reactions at the needle site, flu-like symptoms, shortness of breath and heart palpitations. However, health care providers can plan the treatment to better manage side effects and many can be provided with appropriate medication or other forms of support. Overall, immunotherapy is an evolving and appealing field in cancer treatment, holding realistic hope for cancer patients in the future.
3.4 Supportive Care
With every virus infection comes the risk of potentially severe symptoms. That’s why viruses are often perceived as dangerous and difficult to treat. The body’s immune system is normally able to fight off viruses and keep them under control, but sometimes a virus can cause an infection. This is the next stage of a viral infection – when the virus has taken hold and is causing symptoms. And at this point, doctors will often suggest supportive care as a way to speed up recovery. Supportive care involves various treatments, depending on the type of infection and the symptoms it’s causing, but the general idea is to give the body’s immune system the best chance of fighting off the virus. For example, medication to reduce fever and drinking plenty of fluids will be used to help the body to cope with a virus infection. If the virus causes red or sore patches on the skin, doctors will use antiseptic ointment to keep the area clean and prevent the infection from getting worse. On the other hand, a viral infection may cause vomiting and as a result the body can become dehydrated – in this case, patients will need to drink plenty of fluids; sometimes this can be done with the help of special sugary drinks that are available in pharmacies. Most viral infections will get better with very little medical treatment so it is not useful to use antibiotics. This is because antibiotics kill bacteria and have no effect on viruses, so they don’t help the majority of respiratory infections. By avoiding the unnecessary use of antibiotics, it helps to slow down the problem of antibiotic resistance – this means that bacteria are less affected and more serious or prolonged infections can occur. Overall, supportive care strategies reflect the importance of understanding the physiological and molecular mechanisms of virus infections and pathogenesis. By promoting better health and lessening the overall impact of a virus, the strategies are pivotal for scientists in developing effective countermeasures against virus attacks. Such studies are particularly important at times when we witness outbreaks of new deadly viruses – such work can rapidly advance our understanding of the virus and scientists can develop new medicines and treatments to help combat such outbreaks.

Published by
Write essays
View all posts