Are Viruses Alive?

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Are Viruses Alive?

What is a Virus?

Viruses are very small microorganisms, much smaller than bacteria. They are among the smallest organisms known and consist of a fragment of genetic material inside a protective protein coat. Viruses can only reproduce inside host cells and as a result, they damage the cell when they do this. Once a virus has invaded a cell, it then takes over and makes copies of itself. Eventually the copies of the virus fill the whole host cell, causing it to burst open. The viruses are then passed out in the bloodstream, the airways, or by other routes.

Structure of a Virus:

‘A virus particle, also known as a virion, is essentially a  ( or RNA) enclosed in a protein shell or coat. Viruses are extremely small, approximately 15 - 25 nanometres in diameter.’

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  • Certain viruses contain ribonucleic acid (RNA), while other viruses have deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). 

Flu Virus (H1N1 Virus)

  • The nucleic acid portion of the viruses is known as the genome. The nucleic acid can be single-stranded or double-stranded; it could also be linear or a closed loop; it may be continuous or occur in segments.
  • The genome of the virus is surrounded by a protein coat known as a capsid, which is formed from a number of individual protein molecules called capsomeres. They are arranged in a precise and highly repetitive pattern around the nucleic acid. A single type of ...

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