A virus is a submicroscopular microbial agent which replicates within an organisms’ living cell. A virus spreads through the hosts body by exploiting a host immune response. Some viruses cause disease, others activate protective immunity mechanism which enables the organism to fight or flee from the virus. Some viruses are genetic in nature and cannot be passed on to an uninfected person. A virus can infect all living things, from plants and animals to microorganisms, such as bacteria and Archaea.
In order for a virus to replicate, it needs a host cell. The virus takes up the exact genetic coding from its host cell and then integrates it into its own genetic envelope, making a copy. One example of a viral particle is the nucleic acid which is carried by all living things. When this DNA is inserted into a host cell the viral particle replicates itself and thus creates a new individual. It is also possible to create a viral envelope or viral particle by damaging a host cell, but not the entire virus. Examples of such are AIDS virus, hepatitis virus, and various bacterial and fungal infections.
Polirritmo virus, herpes virus, shingles virus, Epstein-Barr virus (SBV), and hepatitis virus are examples of viruses that affect millions of people every year. Some viruses are airborne, some are caused by fungi, and some can affect the body’s metabolism. Some viruses are specific to one gender or the other (like hepatitis B virus that affects men in relation to prostate cancer).
Polio is one of the most well known viruses. It was first discovered in 1940 and was identified by Dr. Julius Glick, who discovered a characteristic of the disease called paralysis. This characteristic is non-specific in that it affects all children equally. Since there is no set limit on how often a child can get paralyzed it is one of the biggest public health issues today. The virus also causes fertility problems in men and even leads to birth defects in fetuses. As you can see by now vaccines have been developed against poliovirus.
Some viruses may only affect humans and the diseases they cause is limited to the individual who contracted it. However, hiv and other types of infections do not discriminate between humans, dogs, or any other living organism. The only way to contract it is through direct contact with the virus. For instance, a person with hiv can infect others; thus the need to prevent direct contact between the two is very important.
When a virus enters a host cell, it begins copying itself into the host cells. The copying process causes the virus to change into a more stable protein called a tRNA. The tRNA attaches itself to a piece of non-targeted DNA in the host cell. This transfer of the tRNA marks the start of the transcription process where the infected cells begin to manufacture a molecule called a luc gene. The luc gene then makes copies of itself out of the newly synthesized tRNA. This virus has then become a part of the host cell’s repertoire and will continue to reproduce as long as the virus remains in the host cell.
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