Work in progress 9/13/2021
I am disappointed in people I know who think they are educated but are quick to arrive at decisions regarding important issues without knowing anything about the subject. They hear something from some talking head on FOX news or CNN and they are now experts. They inaccurately regurgitate the latest conspiracy theory and insist it is true.
One of these individuals has paid a little money, took 4 - 4 week long online courses in nutrition and, as a result, is convinced he is a doctor. He lets others believe he has a PhD and calls himself a doctor even though he has less formal education (1/3 of a year) than a person with an AA degree from a junior college (2 years). This kind of ignorance or misrepresentation is systemic where far too many people I have known choose to represent themselves to be something or someone they are not or were not.
Recently this person vilified Dr. Fauci for his affiliation with the Wuhan Lab in China and the atrocities that have allegedly been going on there. Apparently, he has great knowledge about what has and is going on there. He alleges to know what Dr. Fauci did, what he knew, what he knows, and says Dr. Fauci (a real doctor and what this person aspires to be) should be put in prison for all of it. He says Dr. Fauci is a traitor and an evil person. All of this coming from a person who claims to be a doctor and research institute operator and I think actually believes he is a doctor and research specialist. I personally think it is coming from FOX news and good old, always truthful and accurate, Tucker Carlson.
At the time I did not know much about what Dr. Fauci was being accused of or anything about gain-of-function. But I did not think Dr. Fauci was a mad scientist who had betrayed America. So, I set about researching the topic as I believe one should do before professing to know anything about a subject or telling anyone else what they think is so. This is what I have found. By the way, I do not have a PhD nor do I claim to. I do, however, have a BS and MS degrees in engineering.
What is gain-of-function?
Gain-of-function research refers to the serial passaging of microorganisms to increase their transmissibility, virulence, immunogenicity, and host tropism by applying selective pressure to a culture.
Do you understand this sentence? I doubt it.
serial passaging of microorganisms = Serial passage refers to the process of growing bacteria or a virus in iterations. For instance, a virus may be grown in one environment, and then a portion of that virus population can be removed and put into a new environment.
transmissibility = the quality of a disease or trait being able to be passed on from one person or organism to another. "what measures should be taken will depend on the transmissibility of the virus"
virulence = the severity or harmfulness of a disease or poison.
immunogenicity = Immunogenicity however, is a more complex measure of how well a vaccine works, and measures the type of immune responses that the vaccine generates and their magnitude over time.
Tropism: Refers to host tropism that is a process of tropism that determines which cells can become infected by any given pathogen. Various factors determine the ability of a pathogen to infect a particular cell. Viruses, for example, must bind to specific cell surface receptors to enter a cell.
host tropism = Host tropism is the infection specificity of certain pathogens to particular hosts and host tissues. This type of tropism explains why most pathogens are only capable of infecting a limited range of host organisms.
applying selective pressure to a culture = Selection pressures are external agents which affect an organism's ability to survive in a given environment
Is gain-of-function anything new?
This is performed in a research context to understand the way in which a pathogen adapts to environmental pressures, allowing disease control measures to be better planned, and potential vaccines and therapies to be explored. Gene editing technology such as CRISPR may be utilized in combination with selective serial passaging to investigate the role of specific genes on protein expression and ultimate organism function.
The field of virology, and to some extent the broader field of microbiology, widely relies on studies that involve gain or loss of function.
I think I would be more concerned with the use of humanized mice! What does that mean?