No, not in the way youre probably thinking ("Punish dem damn fornikaters for screwin 'for dey get hitched!").
If their train of thought (I know, 'thought', lol) with transposable elements follows for viruses, then this paper is just more evidence for Intelligent Design!
Pop Culture Summary
See, all us Materialists Evilutionists think that viruses are just de-evolved organisms. Theyre the ultimate selfish genes (I havent gotten to this part of the Sternberg paper yet, but ID Creationists dont believe in selfish genes, either). So we never bother researching whether viruses might have A Purpose. Therefore, any time a researcher (no doubt a closet ID supporter) publishes a paper where a virus has a positive effect, that research supports Design.
Researchers at WashU discovered that if they infected mice with mice herpes viruses, then exposed them to the bad-guy bacteria that cause encephalitis, meningitis and The Plague, after the acute infection the mice were resistant to the bacterial infections. They found that having a latent herpes virus sitting around somehow activated a lot of macrophages-- not just the ones latently infected with the herpes virus. And they werent just 'activated'. They were on little macrophage rampages, looking for bacteria to eat.
In contrast to macrophages explanted from mock-infected mice, macrophages from latently infected mice were bactericidal, killing L. monocytogenes rapidly after uptake.This paper couldnt have come at a better time, considering my recent Epstein Barr Virus fun (EBV is a kind of herpes virus, so is chicken pox, and the oral and genital herpes we all know and love). Unfortunately not all mouse herpes viruses they tried provided the protective effect. HSV-1 might give us humans some protection against bad-guy bacteria, and EBV might not. We dont know yet.
And, this research is on mice, not humans. Heres the usual animal model disclaimer-- animals are priceless models for testing drugs and studying infections and molecular pathways, but you always have to take animal research with a grain of salt when you use them as descriptors for how things work in humans. See Oracs DCA posts for more on how research in animals and petri dishes can lead to hysteria in humans.
So here I must use my default phrase for when someone finds something neat, but not so practical yet: "This research provides some interesting avenues for future investigations!" YAY! I see RO1s in these researchers futures :P
Oh, the authors also address the fact that herpes has been with humans since we split from reptiles, thus this putative protective effect might be a co-evolved thing. We've had about 100 million years to co-evolve, according to the article. That silly common descent thing you dont need to understand to be a physician. I guess the Creationists will just have to ignore that little fact.
The only outright strange thing I saw in this article was the quote from a Dr. Bernard Roizman at the end of the pop culture article. I know Dr. Roizman is a Big Guy in the herpes world, but I assumed he had been shamed out of being quoted in pop culture articles after he stole a patent from one of his post-docs and fired her in the hopes shed never find out. Maybe Im out of date on those goings on.
But its not just that-- its his quote:
"...in my mind the only good virus is a dead one or one that has been silenced for life."HUH?? Um, you all know Im being sarcastic with "UD says herpes is evidence for Design", but this is exactly the kind of loose, stupid commenting that feeds their quote mines! Ohhh look at that Evilutionist saying all viruses are bad and all junk DNA is useless! "Viruses help control Red Tides, therefore Creationism is true!" "Viruses might give us Plague resistance, therefore Creationism is true!" That comment is just stupid, and I hope Dr. Roizman didnt really mean it.