Why stealthy viruses are making you ill 為什麼隱性病毒會致病?

Scientists have learned more about what makes us sick.Media English explains the trick viruses are playing inside our bodies.
What's making us ill?

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科學家們發現,病毒會形成一種捉弄人的 “隱性球體” 以導致我們生病。英國國家衛生研究所(National Institutes of Health)的團隊稱,他們的發現將改寫教科書中有關感染的內容。

文字稿

We normally think of viruses as ‘lone wolves‘, each waging a solo campaign of infection. But inside the stool samples of patients with either norovirus or rotavirus, scientists discovered something new. Up to 40 viruses were gathering together and wrapping themselves up in a sphere of fat.

我們通常認為病毒是 “獨行俠”,每個病毒都各自組織感染人體的活動。但在諾羅病毒或輪狀病毒攜帶者的糞便樣本中,科學家們發現了一種新的形態。有將近四十個個病毒聚集在一起,把自己包在一個脂肪球裡。

Experiments, published in the journal Cell Host and Microbe, showed the spheres gave the viruses huge advantages. They acted like an invisibility cloak that hid the viruses from the immune system, protected them from harsh environments including stomach acid, and helped them overwhelm their target cells in the intestines. Norovirus infections started by these spheres were more severe and lasted longer than those caused by lone viruses.

發佈在《細胞 · 宿主與微生物》期刊上的一系列實驗結果顯示,該球狀體給病毒帶來了很大的優勢。它們就像一頂隱形斗篷,讓免疫系統無從發覺被藏起來的病毒,保護它們不受包括胃酸等惡劣環境的影響,還幫它們擊敗腸道內的靶細胞。由這類球狀體引起的諾羅病毒感染比個體病毒導致的感染更嚴重,持續時間更長。

Rotavirus is the biggest cause of diarrhoea in children and norovirus is so infectious it spreads rampantly through schools, care homes and cruise ships.

輪狀病毒是導致兒童腹瀉的最大原因,而諾羅病毒傳染性極強,它在學校、看護中心裡和大型游輪上猖獗地蔓延開來。

There are no drugs that treat these infections. The researchers hope their study could lead to new ways of tackling these common diseases.

目前還沒有能治愈這類感染病的藥物。研究人員希望他們的研究可以為對抗這類常見病開闢新途徑。

1. 詞彙表

lone wolves “獨行俠”,喜歡單獨行動的人
waging 發起、組織(活動)
stool samples 糞便樣本
sphere 球狀體
invisibility cloak 隱形斗篷
immune system 免疫系統
stomach acid 胃酸
intestines 腸、腸道
diarrhoea 腹瀉
rampantly 猖獗地、肆虐地
care homes 看護中心
tackling 對付、對抗

2. 閱讀理解:請在讀完上文後,回答下列問題 。 

1. How many viruses have been found to join together in a ‘sphere of fat’?

2. True or false? This ‘sphere of fat’ meant the immune system could not see the viruses.

3. What are the effects of infections caused by these ‘spheres’, compared to a lone virus?

4. Which drugs can be used to stop infections like norovirus and rotavirus?

3. 答案

1. How many viruses have been found to join together in a ‘sphere of fat’?
Up to 40 viruses were discovered gathering together and wrapping themselves up in a sphere of fat. 

2. True or false? This ‘sphere of fat’ meant the immune system could not see the viruses.
True. The ‘sphere of fat’ acted like an invisibility cloak that hid the viruses from the immune system – so they couldn’t be seen.

3. What are the effects of infections caused by these ‘spheres’, compared to a lone virus?
Norovirus infections started by these spheres were found to be more severe and lasted longer than those caused by lone viruses.

4. Which drugs can be used to stop infections like norovirus and rotavirus?
There are no drugs that treat these infections but researchers hope their study could lead to new ways of tackling these common diseases.

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