Virus Appreciation Day

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Today is Virus Appreciation Day.  Yes, this is a real thing.

We usually think of viruses as bad things.  Stomach viruses, respiratory viruses, even HIV come to mind.  And of course no one wants to get any of those.

But did you know there are viruses as well as bacteria in your gut?  They work together in harmony to help you digest your food and support your immune system.

Viruses are also party responsible for the science of vaccines.  In 1796 Edward Jenner noticed that milkmaids almost never contracted smallpox.  However, they were quite frequently infected with cowpox.  The two diseases are closely enough related that infection with cowpox provided protection against the much more dangerous smallpox.  This discovery led to thousands of lives being saved, and in 1980 the World Health Organization certified that smallpox has been eradicated.

So, take a moment today to consider the lowly, misunderstood virus.  They aren’t all bad!


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