A Brief Look At Virus Complexes
A virus is a tiny submicroscopic viral agent that reproduces within an organism’s living cells. Viruses affect all living forms, from plants and animals to bacteria and Archaea, including the eukaryotic cells in our bodies. Some viruses are part of our innate immune system, while others are innate, meaning they are developed by the body in response to a specific threat. The type of virus that causes a problem often determines what kind of infection it is. However, most viruses share some common characteristics.
All viruses require a medium through which they gain access to the host body. The most commonly used medium is protein, which is packaged in a capsule that the virus can break down and then inject into the host. However, this protein may be surrounded by a protective envelope of ribosomes and other protein sequences. This enveloped protein is the viral replication apparatus, or virus.
The ability of viruses to replicate within the host cell is determined by their genetic material. Viruses with genetic material that codes for the replication of their viral replicating agent are considered dangerous because their ability to reproduce can compromise the host’s genetic structure. Once a virus has replicated within the host, it replicates itself, or multiplies, in a similar way to an unchecked factory. To put it another way, a virus that can multiply itself (i.e. create millions of copies) is called an epidemic virus.
When a virus replicates itself, it takes over the host cell and begins to replicate its viral pathogen. This viral pathogen has the ability to infect other cells if the original virus is not neutralized. The virus that causes a problem is typically of a different strain than the one that infects the host cell. Therefore, when a new virus is introduced into a body, it will attempt to infect any cells that are present.
The capsid, or protein coat, is the outer covering of the virus structure. This protein coat protects the virus from outside influences, such as air and water. The capsid also serves as a receptor for invading viruses and other pathogens. Once the foreign substance enters the body, the protein coat allows the virus to bind to and replicate itself. The virus thus becomes a pathogen that invades the body and causes infection.
Viruses are much more complicated than this summary is brief. However, basic knowledge about viral life provides the basic building blocks of virus composition. All viral particles that contain a DNA strand are part of a virus. Some viruses can replicate themselves and spread between cells while others are unable to reproduce at all. Some viruses are able to infect a host cell and then destroy the cell and substitute the virus elsewhere in the body.
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