What is the Distribution of Viruses?
Viruses are one of life’s great little inventions. They tend to cause a great deal of damage in a relatively small amount of time. There are about 100 different types of viruses that cause different problems around the world, and they are responsible for killing millions of people each year. Although viruses are pretty dangerous when they infect the body in a major way, yet they have the potential to cause a lot of damage if they enter the cell by accident or otherwise.
Viruses are highly adaptive and work by copying their host organisms. They can easily hijack the DNA of the target cell and use it to reproduce themselves (that’s the real danger). Viruses depend on the cells of living organisms for their food, since they can only capture or store energy in their host cells if they can steal it. That’s why they’re often thought of as immortal, since they can’t actually die without feeding.
All viruses are made up of a protein called a capsule, and a DNA strand that encode the virus. The capsule is made of amino acids and viral RNA (or mRNA), and the DNA contains all the genetic instructions for making the virus. The capsule and mRNA may be spread around inside the human body and injected into a normal cell through a break in the mucous membranes, for example.
Once the viruses make their way into the cell, they usually set up shop in the capsid and start copying themselves – a process called transcription. At this point the virus will look like a piece of paper, with all its own little protein tail. This capsid becomes the master copy for the virus, until it begins replicating itself millions of times – mutating into many different strains, before finally settling down into a single shape.
Viruses spread from host cells to other host cells by borrowing nucleic acids. Since some viruses don’t do this, they stay in the host cell. Over time, these parasites start forming a network of these parasites, spreading all over the body. Some of the most common ways that parasites spread from cell to cell are by riding on white blood cells, infecting other bacteria and other cells, stealing the nutrients from other cells, or damaging the host cell.
Some viruses have the ability to reproduce without the need of a cell host; they can replicate themselves by using cellular machinery called a polymerase, for example. Other viruses can break down a host cell’s protective wall so they can replicate their viral genome. A number of different types of these viruses can exist in the human body at any given time, and sometimes even within a single cell of a person’s body. The master type of virus that can divide uncontrollably and continue to reproduce is a retrovirus, and retroviruses can also cause other forms of disease in humans.
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