The Viral Reality

Warm Regards and glad to receive the Scientific clipping on Viruses published in the Newsweek . It is really nice to note that you are interested in Viruses that can bring back life to a dead cell or human being. It is my duty to inform you as a Science student that the article is an exaggeration and a fine product of human imagination rather than a scientific fact. The article does not confirm to the scientific basis of Virology. Virology is the scientific study and research on Viruses. To understand viruses one must first understand unicellular organisms. Unicellular organisms are those organisms that are made-up of a single cell.

They are so small and can be seen only using an instrument called microscope. A cell is the structural and functional basis of life. These unicellular organisms have a definite cellular organization like cell wall and nucleic acids and multiply themselves by simple division of their cells into two. The nucleic acids in the cell, namely, DNA and RNA form the chemical basis of life. Plague causing bacteria is a classic example of unicellular organism. The viruses do not fall into the category of unicellular organisms because they do not have a definite cellular organization (Belshe et. al 1991).

They either have DNA or RNA and never both as seen in bacteria and other unicellular organisms. Viruses are obligate intracellular parasites (Collier et. al 1990), which means that they need another cell, usually called the host cell to multiply themselves. Thus, viruses cannot multiply on their own. They need another cell to multiply themselves. For this purpose of replication, the viruses invade a healthy cell, utilize the multiplication mechanism of the healthy cell and ultimately destroy them. This is called as viral infection of the host. For example, the well-known sexually transmitted disease AIDS is caused by a virus called HIV.

This virus attacks a specific portion on human cell surface called CD4 and gets attached firmly. (Our blood also contains cells that have CD4 component). In case of viruses that cause influenza fever, the viruses get attached to the cells of the respiratory tract. This process of attachment to the prospective host cells by the virus is called adsorption. Once the virus firmly attaches itself to a cell, it invades the cell by a slow penetration process followed by the removal of a capsule like structure in the virus (Tom Elliott et. al 1997). This facilitates the nucleic acid of the virus literally taking control of the host cell mechanisms.

The virus multiplies itself, manufactures all its cellular requirements using the host cell. The thus formed viral units get released from the host by destroying the host cell in some cases, called the cell lysis or by a process called budding where the viral units are thrown out without destroying the host cell. These viruses are pathogenic in nature, which means that they can cause a wide range of diseases in human beings and animals. AIDS, Hepatitis, Rabies, Measles, Small pox, Cancer and Flu fever are some of the well-known diseases caused by these viruses.

A scientist Stanley by name demonstrated in 1935 that viruses could be crystallized like other chemicals. This sparked a controversy that viruses are just chemicals and not living organisms. But subsequent experiments in 1956 by Geirer and Schramm (Dimock et. al 1987) showed that the chemical nucleic acids in the viruses could create a population of viral progeny in a living cell thus proving that viruses are indeed living cells. Of course, they are the smallest living units. The largest of the viruses are only as large as the smallest bacteria. The smallest viruses are as small as some blood

I wish to inform you that there is no scientific basis to the concept of bringing cells back to life as stated in the article. In actuality, the cells coming back to life in an infected host plant cell stated …

A virus is a small infectious agent that replicates only inside the living cells of other organisms. A virus can affect all types of life forms. It can be a deadly disease that can spread over a wide range. A …

The Ebola virus, also know as Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a disease caused by viruses from four different families of viruses: 1)filoviruses, 2)arenavirus, 3)flavavirus, 4)bunyaviruses. The usual host for most of these viruses are rodents or anthropoids (such as ticks …

Identify the differences between bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites? -Viruses aren’t living. They’re only made of complex proteins and nucleic acids. Bacteria, Fungi and Parasites are living organisms. – Bacteria are unicellular microorganisms. Fungi and Parasites are multicellular. – Fungi have …

Bacteria cells come in a variety of shapes and sizes, however all bacteria’s have the same basic structure, below is a image of bacteria cell with labels identifying what a bacteria cell consists of: VIRUSES – viruses are smaller than …

1) Information about one type of disease causing Virus a) What is its form? Virus particles (known as virions) consist of two or three parts: one, the genetic material made from either DNA or RNA, long molecules that carry genetic …

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