Scientists have been able, for the first time, to measure the internal pressure that enables the herpes virus to infect cells in the human body.
Scientists have believed for a long-time that the Herpes virus infects cells through the use of pressure force. The theory is that the virus has high internal pressure because it is so tightly packed with genetic material. The pressure means that they can infect a cell by ejecting the genes at high force and speed.
Herpes is a viral disease. The most common is oral herpes, the visible symptoms of which are cold sores or fever blisters (infections of the face or mouth). Another form is genital herpes. Herpes viruses cycle between periods of active disease, appearing as blisters containing infectious virus particles that last from around two to 21 days.
For the first time, a research team has reported that it has managed to measure the pressure inside the herpes virus HSV-1 (herpes simplex virus 1). The discovery possibly paves the way for the development of new medicines to combat viral infections, especially if a treatment could be developed that reduces the pressure within the virus shell.
The research was undertaken by researchers based at Lund University in Sweden and Carnegie Mellon University. The findings have been published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. The paper is titled “Herpes Virus Genome, The Pressure Is On.”