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  • Aarika Karkhanis

LYSSA: The Silent Infiltrator

In the early 19s there was a threat that originated in the old world, Rabies. It was named after Lyssa, the ancient Greek spirit of mad rage who has been haunting us humans for atleast 4000 years. It is believed that Lyssa has the power to turn animals into angry beasts and humans into zombies.

The Lyssavirus has only five genes that are the instruction for five proteins that let it solve complex problems which include infecting a mammal, avoiding its immune system, travelling to its brain, multiplying and infecting new hosts. It all starts with a bite of an animal with its infectious saliva which helps it penetrate deep into the tissue . It targets nerve cells and neurons, the terminal of the nerve cells. Neurons are where the body interacts with each other transferring messages. Lyssa binds to the receptor that is crucial for this process and slips unexpectedly inside the nerve cell. But then the virus has to face a big problem as it has to travel through the long nerve cell to reach the cyton so it can infect it and multiply in number.

However Lyssa also has a solution to that problem, cells have microtubules spanning inside that give them structural integrity but they also have a track system for its delivery system. Dynie motors are actual motors that use energy and deliver packages and they are made of 50 different proteins and are like shoes which Lyssa uses one of its five proteins to take over this amazing system and order it to head for the nucleus cross.

During this invasion our immune system is unaware as usually when the virus attacks the cell, it triggers the immune system which releases thousands of cells called interferons. As the name suggests they INTERFERE with the virus. However, in the case of Lyssa it blocks neurons from making interferons and stays invisible. It does not kill the host while multiplying as it would trigger the alarm system. It jumps from neuron to neuron making its way to the brain. After sometime the immune system awakens and releases one of the most powerful antivirus cells but like a uno reverse card Lyssa uses the immune system's ingenuity against it and destroys the cells. As the virus infiltrates the brainstem it causes death. Scientists are yet to find out a cure for this disease and its discovery will surely be an enormous breakthrough in modern science.

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