A virus is a destructive infectious agent which can only multiply within a host organism. The name virus comes from the word virus which was derived from the Greek word which meant to spread or wreck havoc. Viruses may infect a wide variety of living entities, such as plants, animals, and bacteria. Viruses have an extremely simple structure, so a microscopic microscope is required to view them using a proper magnifying instrument.
A virus spreads through contact with an infected object or body fluid in the same way a common cold or flu spreads through the air. In order for a virus to reproduce, it needs an external host. This external host may be any number of bacteria or other microorganisms. The viruses then multiply into copies of themselves, or viral particles, which can then replicate and move on to another host when the conditions are right. A virus can jump from one cell to another within the human body.
There are three major types of virus: arthropods, bacteria, and virus-like particles (VLP). Antibiotic treatment can kill bacteria and arthropods, but do not affect the viral particles. Some animal viruses, such as influenza and herpes, are highly contagious between animals; others, like the common cold, are not contagious at all. Only a few types of bacteriophages are capable of jumping from one bacterium to another. When the animal’s immune system is diminished, however, even these bacteriophages can multiply into full virus-like particles, or virions.
All viruses exist in the genetic code of the host cell. The genetic material carries the instructions for the virus to make copies of itself. Once the genetic material has been passed on from one cell to the next, the genetic code becomes embedded within the organism’s DNA. The only way to remove the genetic material is by killing the organisms that contain it, or removing the genetic material with surgery. Removing the viruses that live in our bodies today is easier than ever.
To destroy the virus particles once they have become embedded within the host cell, scientists use powerful X-rays. The energy from an x-ray beam is split by the genetic material of the virus, which is also revealed by its colour. The energy required to destroy the virus particles can also destroy other bacteriophages, as well as other forms of DNA damage.
Researchers have also discovered that some viruses are capable of reproducing themselves if the protective outer membrane covering the cell is destroyed. The membrane protects the healthy living cells from invading viruses and bacteria. If the protective protein layer is damaged, however, the invading bacterium is allowed to multiply, which leads to a chain reaction that destroys the healthy cells and thus the infectious agent.
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A virus is a type of microorganism that is able to multiply within a host cell without any type of external support. Viruses can infect . . .