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How dangerous are non-viral vectors?


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#1 john5431

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 02:41 PM

I was in the lab a few days ago and my skin(Just above where my glove comes up to) came in contact with a non-viral vector recently that is used for inserting certain genes into cells. I washed it off very well but am still a little worried. I've never really had anything like this touch my skin in the lab before. I know you learn to never come into contact with anything(And I definitely didn't plan to), but I am wondering exactly how dangerous is this?

#2 hobglobin

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 04:37 AM

Human skin is quite thick and difficult to penetrate for DNA (if not even impossible)...and if I remember right, on the skin also nucleases wait for their job....
Anyway to be sure have a look on the instruction leaflets (or Material Safety Data Sheets) of the package; there all safety and risk factors should mentioned, if there are any known.

Edited by hobglobin, 09 June 2012 - 04:38 AM.

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#3 john5431

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 06:26 AM

Human skin is quite thick and difficult to penetrate for DNA (if not even impossible)...and if I remember right, on the skin also nucleases wait for their job....
Anyway to be sure have a look on the instruction leaflets (or Material Safety Data Sheets) of the package; there all safety and risk factors should mentioned, if there are any known.



Thanks for your response. I'm looking into it and am talking to others as well who have said its most likely not a big deal at. If the scenario was changed and it was a viral vector, would it have been much worse? I know they cut out part of the genome responsible for the viral replication, but exactly how dangerous is it still?

#4 bob1

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 02:05 PM

The danger is extremely low even for viral vectors. The skin is a very good barrier to infections, you usually need a cut or crack in the skin's surface for the infection to get in and take hold. Even then, there is a minimum dose required for the infection to become an active infection (e.g. adenovirus which is one of the cold viruses takes about 3 virus particles hitting the back of the throat to cause infection, this might not sound like much, but consider how difficult it is to get the particles aerosolized from one person, for another to breathe them in). The body is also very good at fighting infection, any foreign organism is recognised by both the innate and adaptive immune responses, which work together to clear infections.

However, as you probably well know, some viruses are capable of long term integration into the genome (e.g. HPV), and can lead to conditions such as cancer or shingles...




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