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How long does it take the virus to infect cells

Discussion in 'Spreading and Preventing Herpes' started by HSVcurious, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. HSVcurious

    HSVcurious Member


    This is a theoretical question, but worth a discussion. Lets say someone kisses a person with a cold sore and has virus particles transfered to the other person on the lips. How long does it take the virus to work its way into the cells and start to make copies of itself. I dont think its instantaneous, the virus probably takes sometime before it enters the cell.

    Also I am assuming the first copies the virus makes is probably on the outer skin layers, once an infection has been made and the immune system left offguard, some of the copied virus probably make their way to the sacral ganglion. So the whole process of viral entry and making copies should be in the span of 1 week I guess.

    Anyone who can shed some light?
  2. ntdc

    ntdc Well-Known Member

    Fusion with the susceptible epithelial cells would be immediately on contact with the susceptible cells. The viral DNA enters the cell and replication begins. I do not know the specific timing of this but I believe it is rather fast. Viruses reproduces thousands of times faster than normal human cells. It may take time for sufficient numbers of cells to become infected to cause noticeable symptoms, though.

    You are partially right here. The virus begins replicating rather fast as I stated earlier. The latent infection is thought to be established about 1 week after the initial outbreak subsides. This is why it is believed that treating the initial outbreak with anti-viral medication can lead to less severe/less frequent future outbreaks.

    If the HSV virus (either strain) is causing cold sores it does not reside in the sacral ganglion (base of spine) it would reside in the trigeminal ganglion which is near the ear.

    These animations will show you the process of fusion/cell entry, replication, establishment of latency and re-activation

  3. HSVcurious

    HSVcurious Member

    Okay that was very clear, how long does it take the virus to infect the first cells once it has entered a cut, is it about an hour when it manages to get inside the cell? I am guessing these must be the cells at the mucous membranes
  4. ntdc

    ntdc Well-Known Member

    Not sure what you are trying to determine. Virons dont survive long on the surface of a skin, once a viron contacts a susceptible cell fusion is immediate. The cell would be infected at that point.
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