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Chickenpox: Varicella Zoster Virus

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Medical practitioners have experienced a number of challenges and progresses in their effort to adequately deal with viral diseases, such as chickenpox. Major challenges have been to identify the viruses responsible for such ailments and to develop effective medications. Chickenpox, which is scientifically referred to as varicella, is caused by Varicella zoster virus (VZV) as its primary infection (Abendroth, 2010).

According to Abendroth (2010), Varicella zoster virus is one of the eight herpes viruses that cause human infection. The virus can then be transported through the respiratory system, where it spreads from cell to cell. Through the interactions between cellular receptors and viral glycoprotein, the virus invades the T-cells of the blood that carry it to the skin (Wolff et al., 1999). 

Eventually, VZV recreates its envelope, made of mannose 6-phosphate that allows it to move to sensory nerve cells by the help of sensory nerve cells’ mannose 6-phosphate receptors.  The replication cycle of VZV starts by the transcription of α gene by cellular RNA polymerase II, which is later moved to the cytoplasm. Here, α gene is translated into (IE) proteins to be transported back to the nucleus, where they induce the expression of β gene to be translated into early (E) proteins. The actual process of viral multiplication is facilitated by the enzymes from the E proteins through the viral DNA replication (Abendroth, 2010).         

Acyclovir antiviral drug is the most effective among the already established drugs in combating VZV. The acyclovir fights the VZV by facilitating the mutations in the thymidine kinase gene which then results into antiviral resistant strains. This mutation of the 45-bp palindromic sequence (TA)17 is what combats the VZV by losing its replication process (Wolff et al., 1999).

Despite the numerous researches that have been done concerning the Varicella zoster virus (VZV), there has never been a clear understanding of its replication nature. However, the understanding of other related viruses such as HSV gives the base for its understanding. Even though chickenpox is not very severe, the pain of contracting shingles should influence further research. 

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