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Hepatitis and HIV CoinfectionHepatitis and HIV Coinfection
           
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Lifespan of HCV
Apr 22, 2001

Based on my readings, a virus needs a host cell to replicate, and remains inert or dormant without a host cell. Out of curiosity, then, if a virus is inert or dormant, is it, forever, capable of replicating once a host cell becomes available?

For example, if a test tube contains freshly drawn human blood that is tainted with Hepatitis C virus, this blood has the potential of infecting me if I had an open wound and I pore some of this blood on the wound. My question, then, is: if I left the test tube on a corner in my room, and left it there for, say, a month, would I still get infected if I pore this blood on a wound?

I guess my question boils down to: How long is it, before the virus loses its potential to replicate? It was argued that a virus has no life in the absence of a host cell, but is there a time-span in which a virus is capable of replicating, after which, it looses its potential to replicate or invade a host cell?

Also, do you know of any scientific articles that deal with this issue?

Response from Dr. Dieterich

See other questions about this topic. Hepatitis C only lives for a few hours outside of the body. After that blood would not be infectious if dried. However whole blood that is refrigerated for weeks is still contagious if it is administered intravenously, as in a transfusion. That used to happen before the blood supply was cleaned up in 1992. DTD



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