Tracking down viruses that cause human disease
This is Science Today. Using a genomics-based
approach, scientists at the University
of California, San Francisco are tracking down viruses that
cause human disease. Dr. Don Ganem, a professor of microbiology and immunology
and of medicine, has already used DNA microarrays to identify the genome of the
newly discovered severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS virus. Ganem also
discovered that Kaposi's sarcoma is caused by a novel herpesvirus. Now, Ganem
is focused on two big categories of human disease.
Ganem: One are other acute diseases that we know are
infections but for which we don't know all the causes - so, common colds,
respiratory infections, bronchitis, bronchialitis. We know that about 60 or 65
percent of common colds are due to a dozen different viruses, but there's still
about a third of common colds whose cause is absolutely unknown.
Narrator: Ganem also wants to determine if viruses may be
responsible for certain cancers and autoimmune diseases. For Science Today, I'm