Space. For far too long it has smugly looked down upon Earth and this planet’s sexual transmitted infections, audibly guffawing at our illnesses, comfortable in its knowledge that its lack of genitals and its being a vacuum would prevent it from ever coming down with any of our communicable diseases.
Well, ha ha fuck you Space, we’re sending the herpes virus your way.
That’s right, NASA has greenlit $80,000 for a project to see how herpes reacts to outer space. From The Free Beacon:
The federal space agency has awarded multiple grants and contracts to a researcher at the University of Florida to determine the “Effect of Spaceflight on Herpesvirus Genome Stability and Diversity,” beginning last summer. The project recently received an additional $15,000 in December.
“The goal of this study will be to determine the changes in the genomic and mutational diversity that is present in the Herpesvirus virome present in astronaut saliva and urine samples collected before, during, and after space flight,” according to NASA’s description of the research. “Ground subjects will serve as the control group providing saliva and urine samples preflight and postflight during the same schedule as the astronauts.”
“In summary, the proposed study is a unique opportunity to examine the influence of space flight on the mutation rate and diversity of human persistent viruses and to assess the potential risk of virus mutations accumulating during long-duration missions,” NASA said.
So.. okay. We aren’t actually going to try and give space an STI, but rather see how viruses handle the extreme conditions of space flight, which is important as our species continue to strive for an interstellar existence.
Also it’s not the genital herpes virus they are looking at, which I probably should have mentioned earlier.
The study is focusing on four different herpes viruses, including the virus that causes chickenpox and shingles, by which most humans have been infected.
“At least four (Epstein Barr virus- EBV, Varicella zoster virus- VZV, Cytomegalovirus– CMV, and Herpes simplex virus 1 -HSV1) of the eight known human Herpesviruses are common life-long infections humans have shown to reactivated due to space flight,” NASA said. “The fact that space flight is known to increase the frequency and duration of Herpesvirus reactivation sets up a biological environment for these reactivating and replicating viruses to mutate.”
I still stand by original contention that space is too smug for it’s own good. Fuck you space. You ain’t so hot.