Saturday, February 2, 2013


Bacteria v. Viruses

These tiny little critters are basically devolved humans, like politicians and people who enter their children into beauty pageants.  Each little bacterial cell can grow up and divide into two identical Honey Boo Boo daughter cells, who in turn grow up to be exactly like Mom and then split. When, like me, you open up a lunch container that you've left in your bag for 3 weeks, you’re smelling gases produced by the different species of bacteria that have been eating your gross quinoa leftovers. 

GOOD: Bacteria that eat plastic bags, bacteria currently wearing little white BP hard-hats and cleaning up the Gulf of Mexico spill, bacteria that live in a 25ft empty tube in your body that would start trying to kill you the minute your immune system failed but for now will produce vitamins for you, etc.

Bad: necrotizing fascitis, foot odour, strep throat

Viruses are not technically alive, and are therefore more like zombies or people who never try ethnic foods. They only activate under very certain conditions, and they can't replicate unless they are IN a cell. A virus particle punches a hole into one of your cells and insert its genetic material. This code then cuts its way INTO YOUR DNA, which, when it gets transcribed with every-day regular Joe Blow DNA, makes a billion more viruses. Your poor cell makes so many copies of the virus that it EXPLODES like a waterballoon. 

Viral lysis, or Waterballoon Theory

The progression of animal life through the evolutionary tree has been followed by a similar 'shadow tree' of viruses to infect the newly evolved organisms- viruses evolve INCREDIBLY fast, which is why we have such a hard time treating things like HIV with a single drug.

Good: viruses that infect the strains of bacteria that cause colds, viruses used for delivery of anti-cancer and anti-HIV treatments and in research

Bad: common cold, ebola, etc.

TLDR: Antibiotics only work on bacteria, antivirals on viruses. If you don't want the world to turn into a post-apocalyptic Resident-Evil-type place, stop using antibacterial soap- it will only ever kill 99.99% of them, and that last .01% is A) going to be pissed and B) unaffected by antibiotics, which means that when it's done reproducing 20 minutes later, you have TWO daughter cells that are also unaffected by the antibiotic. USE YOUR BRAINS, and thanks for reading

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