Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Prions Revisited

Remember that whole thing about prions as the cause of Mad Cow and the accompanying analogy to Vonnegut's ice nine (see Prions and Ice Nine)?

Well, according to an article in today's news, it turns out that Mad Cow may be caused by a virus after all, and the prions could just be the effect, not the cause.

I'm not convinced though, and neither are the doctors/scientists just yet. My first question would be whether or not there are known varieties of virus that nothing seems to kill, as is the case with prions and Mad Cow, CJD-V, etc. Nor autoclave, nor alcohol, nor chlorine, nor you name it shall keep the mal-formed protein from its appointed rounds. Can a virus do that? Serious question. If you know, leave a comment, please.