Persistent viruses

Dorothy H. Crawford

in Viruses: A Very Short Introduction

Second edition

Published in print March 2018 | ISBN: 9780198811718
Published online March 2018 | e-ISBN: 9780191848520 | DOI:

Series: Very Short Introductions

Persistent viruses

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  • Medical Microbiology and Virology
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‘Persistent viruses’ explains how some viruses have evolved strategies for overcoming immune mechanisms and survive inside their host for prolonged periods, even for a lifetime. Evasion strategies encompass three basic manoeuvres: finding a niche in which to hide from immune attack, manipulating immune processes to benefit the virus, and outwitting immune defences by mutating rapidly. Most persistent viruses have evolved to cause mild or even asymptomatic infections, since a life-threatening disease would not only be detrimental to the host, but would also deprive the virus of its home. The herpesvirus family, retrovirus family, HIV-1, and hepatitis viruses are described in detail.

Keywords: AIDS; cytomegalovirus; Epstein-Barr virus; glandular fever; hepatitis; herpes

Chapter.  4614 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Microbiology and Virology ; Microbiology

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