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The COVID-19 virus causes respiratory illnesses. The virus does so by changing the generic code of our cell.

If a virus can cause a change in our body, like respiratory illness, can the same techniques in a controlled manner be used in a constructive manner, for example treating cancer.

Simply if I ask, can we create a virus like a thing to work for good in our body, just like nuclear fusion used for bombs and electricity.

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    I think you have answered your own question? Oncolytic Viral Therapy is developed to treat (selectively kill) cancer cells.
    – gatorback
    Mar 15 '20 at 0:02
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    I understand the question as based on an assumption I personally never found evidence for: I have no reason to think that all viruses are destructive and in any case, harmful different viruses attack very different kinds of organisms so everything is relational and even more relational when you add evolution in. A few years back I have read on the "passenger virus" concept which indicated "harmless viruses" do exist.
    – user8225
    Mar 15 '20 at 10:53
  • @JohnDoea I am thinking of creating a virus which is useful to human
    – Arun Killu
    Mar 15 '20 at 17:10
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I think the claim about viruses always being destructive isn't a good starting assumption for a question. For several reasons:

  • In the sense that OP is probably considering, it isn't true. Counterexample, see below (and there are also other uses we put viruses to).
  • In a wider sense, life is always destructive in that a living organism uses energy, substances, and space that otherwise could be used by another living organism. While we could debate whether viruses are alive or not, they certainly share these points.
    So a bacteriophage (see below) may be destructive to the bacterium it infects. But that bacterium dying means the "neighbor strain" that is resistant against this phage is thriving. So one organism's destruction eases the life of other organisms.
    In that sense, I consider the claim of desctructivity with "so, what?"

can we create a virus like a thing to work for good in our body

Have a look at bacteriophages and phage therapy.
Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria, and there has been research about using them against bacterial infections about 100 years ago, in parallel to the development of antibiotics.

Besides political/language difficulties (bacteriophage research was strong in the Soviet Union, and in consquence lots of the research publications are in Russian) back then antibiotics turned out to be easier and cheaper in practice (this may change with increasing antibiotic resistances, though).

Antibiotics are produced by chemical synthesis or isolation from plant/fungi. They are chemical substances, so once we have studies that show that the stuff works as intended, product testing "only" needs to show that the correct modification of the correct substances is there in the correct concentration.

But the viruses are more-or-less alive, and in any case they evolve. So chemical substance testing is not sufficient, for each batch the biological activity must be checked and proved anew. This means a lot of expensive work for each batch of the virus.
Also, the bacteriophages are pretty much the opposite of a broad-spectrum antibiotic: they are not only species specific but also strain specfic (I don't know whether that is the case always, often, or sufficiently often to hinder practical application).

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  • Hello ; I find your answer false because it doesn't falsify the false claim in the question; as I have commented on the question itself: I understand the question as based on an assumption I personally never found evidence for: I have no reason to think that all viruses are destructive and in any case, harmful different viruses attack very different kinds of organisms so everything is relational and even more relational when you add evolution in. A few years back I have read on the "passenger virus" concept which indicated "harmless viruses" do exist.
    – user8225
    Mar 16 '20 at 16:28
  • @JohnDoea: I agree with you - but I may be going even a bit further: I think the question is not only wrong but actually not a sensible question in the first place. But: the bacteriophages are a counterexample in what I think is probably the meaning of destructivity OP is after. I did not know about passenger viruses and I think you should consider adding them as another answer. BTW, AFAIK mitochondria used to bacteria that were "incorporated" as important organelles into other cells at some point. I was wondering whether similar examples exist with viruses (but I don't know of any). Mar 16 '20 at 20:43
  • I don't think I should add my own answer rather than the OP edits the question or asking a new question and linking to that one declaring it was false; in part because ATMO we as questioners and answerers have the highest amount of responsibility in this website from all other sites of the network. The "passenger virus" is just a concept I have read about about, I guess 10 years ago; I don't even know if this is a widely accepted term; either way in this particular session, I think it is not my responsibility to do more than commenting.
    – user8225
    Mar 17 '20 at 1:55
  • I have heard on the "from mitochondria to cells" theory of evolution of life but I have never heard on the "from mitochondria to virus" theory of evolution of life (neither on "from virus to cell" theory of evolution of life); this is all interesting but comments can get deleted and either the OP or you are the authority to make this session worthy to not be misleading, I think.
    – user8225
    Mar 17 '20 at 1:57

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