Whats the word on prions? Any new developments? Are they indestructable proteins? Are they still considered to be like a virus? I haven’t heard much about them lately.

They’re not indestructible, but they are pretty tough. And they’re like a virus at least to the extent that they can’t reproduce outside of a host.

They’ve never been considered viruses, and are not. As you know, they cause bovine encephalopathy, aka Crutzfeld-Jacobs disorder, aka scapies.

They are proteins which are in everyone’s brain, but the protein, for some unknown cause, becomes deformed, and this protein is able to send out chemical messages which deform other like proteins.

That would be Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease and scrapie. And they’re not really synonymous. BSE is a cow disease, CJD is human and scrapies is found in sheep and goats. There’s also Chronic Wasting Disease in deer and elk, and Transmissible Mink Encephalopathy in, well, mink.

This site seems to be keeping track of progress in the field.

Cecil speaks (just 2 years ago) on What’s the story on prions, which supposedly cause mad cow disease?