Healthy humans make nice homes for viruses

ClinicalNews.Org

September 16, 2014
By Caroline Arbanas

The same viruses that make us sick can take up residence in and on the human body without provoking a sneeze, cough or other troublesome symptom, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

On average, healthy individuals carry about five types of viruses on their bodies, the researchers report online in BioMed Central Biology. The study is the first comprehensive analysis to describe the diversity of viruses in healthy people.

The research was conducted as part of the Human Microbiome Project, a major initiative funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that largely has focused on cataloging the body’s bacterial ecosystems.

“Most everyone is familiar with the idea that a normal bacterial flora exists in the body,” said study co-author Gregory Storch, MD, a virologist and chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. “Lots of people…

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