The Human Hepatocirrhosis virus (HHV) is a virtual virus designed to model the characteristics of a real virus. HHV targets hepatocytes cells in the liver causing severe damage to the organ. Currently, there are no vaccines to combat this pathogen, however, there are medications that can decrease the propagation rate of the virus to new cells. This virion can enter the human body through the mucosa of the mouth, nose, genital area and open wounds in the skin. It is mainly transmitted from body fluids and contaminated water or food. HHV is an enveloped virus that encompasses a nucleocapsid containing catalytic enzymes and nucleic acid (viral genome). HHV has a very rapid lytic life cycle capable of making thousands of new viruses each hour. The virus has a negative sense single stranded RNA genome that replicates in the cytoplasm of the hepatocyte cells. The mechanisms for HHV infection in the context of the human immune response is described with emphasis on the different strategies the virus utilizes to overcome cellular and genomic challenges.

Note on the Author

Dawilmer Castillo is a graduating senior majoring in Biology and minoring in Biochemistry and Spanish. His research project was completed in the fall of 2014 under the mentorship of Dr. Boriana Marintcheva (Biology) and made possible with funding provided by the Office of Undergraduate Research through a course-embedded research grant.

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