On the Use of Altered Viral Shells to Combat Lysogenic Infections

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2394, Volume 321, No. 1

On the Use of Altered Viral Shells to Combat Lysogenic Infections

Dr. H’parn, Dr. Cole Anderson, Dr. Hank Fuller, Cadet Narrin Leal, Cadet Anath G’Renn, Dr. Chec, Student L’naH, Federation-Klingon Future Healer’s Institute (FHI)

Introduction

The suggestion of using viruses to counteract the effects of lysogenic diseases was first made by Cadet Anath G’Renn during a Nanosurgery lab assignment at Starfleet Medical Academy. Having isolated several pathogens from a skin sample from a healthy human male (henceforth referred to as Subject A) the day before, the assignment was to use nanosurgery to extract the genetic material from a virus’s protein shell without damaging the DNA segments. Cadet G’Renn completed the task with time to spare, and decided to further test her skill by attempting to successfully reinsert the DNA back into the viral shell. Attached to the cadet’s lab report was an essay response detailing a possible procedure to use an empty virus to deliver other genetic material to a cell. The cadet reasoned that if a lysogenic virus, which injects its virus DNA into the nucleus of a cell, a genetically reprogrammed lysogenic virus could in theory counteract the changes to the cell made by the virus. Her instructor, Doctor Fuller, was intrigued and sent the report and essay response to his associate Doctor H’parn at the Federation-Klingon Future Healer’s Institute for a second opinion.

Investigations [Part 1]

After Doctor Fuller forwarded Cadet G’Renn’s initial lab report and essay to Doctor H’parn at the FHI, the proposal by a half-Klingon medical student was seen as an ideal opportunity for an FHI joint research project. The team was assembled from Starfleet Medical Academy and the Qu’Vat Colony School of Medicine. After the personnel from Qu’Vat arrived on Earth, a preliminary meeting was called to discuss strategy and formulate a research plan. After deliberation, the final plan was as follows.

  • Days One-Three: The first three days of the project were allotted for mapping the DNA of Subject A’s healthy epidermal cells, studying the genetic material of the Laroz’s Disease virus, and continuing background research on the effects and activity cycles of Laroz’s Disease.
  • Days Four-Six: The fourth day was allotted to the tasks of infecting the two experimental cultures of epidermal cells and testing the results. After infection, both experimental cultures were scheduled to be analyzed for chromosome alterations and the spread of the virus throughout days five and six.
  • Day Seven: Day seven was the scheduled day for empty viral shells to be injected with DNA fragments from Subject A’s healthy skin cells. After completion, these modified viruses were to be released into Experimental Culture B only.
  • Days Eight-Nine: All cultures would be allowed two days of growth in containment before final metrics were taken.

Biochemical Lab 12 at Starfleet Medical Academy was assigned to the team to host the experiment, and final preparations were made for the study.

Investigations [Part 2]

The study began as planned, and the team made excellent progress in the first three days of the project. Day one saw the completed mapping of genetic material for both the skin cells of Subject A and the virus responsible for Laroz’s Disease. The team’s research during the following two days showed a persistent pattern of slow growth in previous reported cases of Laroz’s Disease, and allowed Cadet Narrin and Student L’naH to narrow probable points of infection to a single chromosome in Subject A’s genome. On day four, the Control Culture, Experimental Culture A, and Experimental Culture B were all delivered to Biochemical Lab 12 from storage and were placed into containment chambers. Both experimental cultures were exposed to equal concentrations of Laroz’s Disease viruses. After infection, the rate of spread was tracked by the team once an hour for two days. On day six, several infected cells were removed from both experimental cultures, and the genetic changes were logged, confirming the predictions of Narrin and L’naH. Doctor Chec worked with Narrin and L’naH to isolate and replicate the original sections of DNA affected by the infection, while Cadet G’Renn and Doctor Fuller performed the genetic extractions on the Laroz Virus samples. The epidermal cell genetic material was bonded to the empty viral shells, which were in turn introduced to Experimental Culture B.

Two days of continuous growth were allowed before the samples were removed from containment. Final measurements were taken and the students were tasked with the responsibility of analyzing the resulting data and formulating a final report.

Conclusions

The final results of the project determined that the modified virus treatment greatly reduced Laroz’s Disease from Experimental Culture B. While Experimental Culture A displayed an infection rate of 85,000 per 100,000 cells, the infection rate for Experimental Culture B was measured at 40,000 per 100,000 cells after two days of exposure to the modified viruses. While the infection rate for Experimental Culture B was higher than expected, the experimental observations matched the general expectations of the team from the planning stage. The use of modified viral injections to eliminate lysogenic diseases before they reproduce is plausible, and the need for further research into the possibility is apparent.

Team Composition

  • Representing the Federation -Klingon Future Healer’s Institute: Dr. H’parn and Dr. Cole Anderson
  • Representing Starfleet Medical Academy: Dr. Hank Fuller, Cadet Narrin Leal, and Cadet Anath G’Renn
  • Representing Qu’Vat Colony School of Medicine: Dr. Chec and Student L’naH