Can viruses combine in your body to create a Super Virus?

20 March 2012

Question

In regard of STDs – sexually transmitted infections – is it possible that virus strains, or types can combine in a host, say a human, and create a more destructive dangerous or communicable super virus?

Answer

Estee - Absolutely. I mean, so there was a case report I think in the New England Journal of Medicine a few years ago of exactly that - a man who presented with HIV infection and then was subsequently re-infected with another strain and had a faster disease progression and died in fact.

Chris - Because once you've got one strain, if you add another one on top then they can share genes between the viruses and you end up with a virus that's got all of the worst bits of both.

Estee - Absolutely.

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