A virus is a self replicating infectious virus that envelops its own DNA in double helix shape. There are many different kinds of viruses out there. A virus can only be in one living cell at one time, but it can multiply and spread from one living cell to another in matter of hours. A virus can cause disease in one form, but have no effect on another form of organism. That is why a virus that affects only a human can affect another human, while a virus that affects only a dog can have no effect whatsoever on a cat.
Virus particles are enclosed by a coating of lipoprotein, protein, or lipid. Lipoproteins protect the viruses against the immunity systems of the host cell. The viral envelope, or outer membrane, of a virus is lipid or fat. The lipid envelope protects the virus from the harmful effects of oxygen and other substances.
Because viruses can multiply very rapidly, it is easy to see how they frequently change their genetic material. Every time a virus mutates, it makes two copies of itself, a new strain. Since each virus only has an instruction set for making a certain kind of virus, without any changes, a virus from one strain will mutate into a virus capable of causing disease in humans.
Some viruses, like bacteria, become invader organisms and take over the host cell. When this happens, the balance between the invading virus and the host cell breaks down. This can disrupt the normal functioning of that organism.
Most viruses do not reproduce themselves. The virus needs a living host in order to reproduce. If the virus is unable to infect or reproduce in a host cell, it dies off. However, some viruses may have the ability to divide themselves and form groups with different strains, which allows them to reproduce independently and possibly cause more problems than before.
Viruses are not only found in nature. Many different types of bacteria, yeast, and fungi can also infect people. In fact, about 75 percent of all bacteria and fungi are not infectious. These organisms generally cause no harm and will not spread disease. People can become ill from bacteria or fungi, however, if the proper precautions are not observed.
Some viruses are capable of reproducing with the help of an additional living cell called a partner. When this happens, the virus is known as a multivirulent virus. A virus may be able to affect different types of bacteria, fungi, and other organisms. The type of virus depends on the type of virus that is involved.
The viruses that invade and damage a cell membrane are usually classified as enveloped viruses. Enveloped viruses are enveloped by a lipoprotein membrane, which is made up of lipids (such as fatty acids) and amino acids. The lipoprotein membrane is protected by an outermost lipid envelope, which is made up of amino acids as well. The outermost lipid envelope, together with the virus’s genetic material, makes up the virus’s protein coat. The virus’s protein coat is what gives it the ability to latch on to a cell membrane and start copying itself.
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