Tag Archives: genetics

AAV: from ‘Almost A Virus’ to ‘An Awesome Virus’

28 Jun
AAV (photo credit: depts.washington.edu)

AAV (photo credit: depts.washington.edu)

In 1965, adeno-associated virus (AAV) was discovered while hitching a ride into the cell with adenovirus, which is a virus that causes the fretted pink eye, cold sores and sore throats.

AAV was best described back then as the quiet kid in the back of the classroom. He would simply enter a cell, and basically be invisible in the hustle and bustle of the cytoplasm. He wouldn’t bother anyone; he wasn’t there to cause any symptoms or diseases. He didn’t want to start any trouble.

In fact, he will only replicate if another virus, such as adenovirus,  causes cell damage. Otherwise, he just sits and minds his own business. So why does this virus exist?

While interviewing for another unrelated story for one of my jobs, I had the pleasure of meeting Arun Srivastava, Ph.D., and chair of the division of cellular and molecular therapy at the University of Florida. What I thought was going to be a brief interview to get one or two quotes for another story, actually turned out to be a history lesson about a virus that was ignored for a long time, but has now proved to have life-saving capabilities. Continue reading

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