• What you need to know about RNA Virus

    RNA virus is a virus that contains a single-stranded or double-stranded ribonucleic acid as its main genetic material. Like other viruses, it is contained within a protective layer of protein and a lipid envelope.

    According to research, RNA is unstable in nature. It is very prone to mistakes during copying (one mistake per 10,000 nucleotides per copy). Compared to DNA, it has lesser ability in correcting errors, does not have a blueprint quality, and is poorly suited for information. Such properties of RNA contribute to the mutagenic factor that makes RNA virus evolve faster than DNA virus. Each virus can reproduce itself hundreds or thousands of times in an entire genome year, which cause mutation in the RNA sequence. A mutation in RNA can cause varying diseases among individuals.

    The most common diseases caused by RNA includes include SARS, influenza, hepatitis C, and Polio.

    SARS

    Also known as severe acute respiratory syndrome, this disease was once a global health threat identified in 2003 by Dr. Carlo Urbani, a physician at World Health Organization (WHO). SARS is a severe type of communicable pneumonia that can easily spread through coughing and sneezing, or touching any object that is exposed to droplets from an infected person. The SARS symptoms are similar with flu and pneumonia, only more severe. The SARS outbreak in 2003 resulted into 8000 identified cases and 750 deaths.

    Influenza

    Also known as flu, this disease is caused by the RNA virus of the Orthomyxoviridae, the types of virus that affect birds and mammals. Compared to common colds, influenza has more severe symptoms which include chills, fever, sore throat, muscle pains, severe headache, and coughing. The infection can usually last for a week and may tend to spread rapidly in seasonal epidemics. Influenza is a highly contagious disease which can infect another person through sneezing and coughing.

    Hepatitis C

    This is an infectious disease caused by the hepatitis C virus which primarily affects the liver. The most common cause of hepatitis include liver damage from alcohol, poisonous mushrooms, or other poisons; overdosage of acetaminophene from medications, and attack of autoimmune cells in the body. Hepatitis C can be characterized by swelling of the liver that can lead to cancer.

    Polio

    Also known as poliomyelitis, polio is a type of viral infection that primarily affects the nerves, causing partial to full paralysis to the infected person. This contagious disease can transmit from one person to another via direct person-to-person contact, contact with infected mucus or phlegm from nose or mouth, and contact with infected feces.

    Additional resources:

    http://www.epidemic.org/theFacts/viruses/rnaViruses/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poliomyelitis

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    Categories: DNA & Genetics

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