The word, for proteinaceous infectious agent, was coined in 1982 by neurologist Stanley Prusiner as part of a hypothesis regarding ailments bearing aetiologic resemblance to those caused by slow viruses (for instance, kuru). The hypothesis has been borne out by investigation. Prions are now believed responsible for several transmissible neurodegenerative diseases

Origin: proteinaceous infectious particle

(05 Mar 2000)