On Earth, viruses are probably the most profuse biological entities. Until lately, they were considered to be only infectious agents which are existing and duplicate within host cell of any organism, frequently causing risky illnesses. However, did you know that viruses can be used to crush other diseases without any negative effects on the health of the host?
Since viruses co-evolved with their hosts, by learning to shape their surrounding environment according to their needs, they have become the masters of the immune system.
By the end of the 19th century, settlers from Europe introduced into Australia the wild European rabbit. As the growth of the wild rabbits began to get out of control, the European settlers made a decision of introducing the myxoma virus, which results in the deadly disease ‘myxomatosis’ in rabbits, in order to decrease the population size of rabbits and bring back the natural biodiversity. This turned out to be very successful since nearly 99 percent of the population of wild rabbits was wiped out, and ultimately the same was copied to wipe the population of rabbits in the United Kingdom and France. However, it was observed, that there was no disease which was developed in the rabbits that were inhabited in America.
This encouraged the researchers to further study myxoma virus, and eventually, it was discovered that the virus could cause infection in numerous classes of cancer cells. Then from this discovery, the concept of oncolytic virotherapy was born which is basically administering the virus which especially attacked the cancer cells without causing any harm to the healthy cells.
Building on the legacy of the myxoma virus, there is now a genuine proof that the myxoma virus had the potential to mediate the other human ailments which are difficult to otherwise treat.