Neal D. Johnson,M.D.

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Unleashing the ‘good’ viruses in humans

It is known that viruses are the culprits in some human cancers, diseases, and disorders. However, in a recent publication in Nature, scientists discovered that there are viruses in the intestines, which may be beneficial to humans.

Microbiologists studying the viral-bacterial flora in the distal part of the gastrointestinal tract using fecal materials of healthy identical twins and their mothers, found that the virus population of each person is unique and does not change over time—even for identical twins.

The new discovery led scientists to believe that viruses could play a role in modifying the genes of the more than 10 trillion resident bacteria in the intestines. The microbes are vital in the production of amino acids and vitamins, and substances that degrade complex sugars and proteins, which could not be digested by humans. Influencing microbial behaviour and multiplication by transporting genes from one bacterium to another are bacterial viruses.

Although not yet fully understood, scientists also believe that this unexplored and intriguing viral-bacterial micro-environment affects people’s lives in many ways. It’s possible that viruses are the real driving force of the system due to their ability to transform bacteria that then modifies its human host.

This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

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