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What is a Virus?

Virus, from the Latin word 'virus', referring to a toxin or poison, is a very small, infectious agent that develops in, and is only capable of developing within a 'host' environment. To break this fairly complicated sentence down into a few easier-to-deal-with chunks, let us present the following:


1) A virus is small, very small; very small indeed. So small in fact, that it is barely, if even evident or observable through a functional microscope. The virus, in fact, is what is referred to as a sub-microscopic agent, whereby the virus itself is so small, that it requires a special electron microscope in order to view it properly, or must simply be inferred to be present within a cell, due to biological reactions predominantly present only by the presence of said virus within a cell. To concluded, viruses are tiny.

2) Viruses are infectious; i.e. they are 'detrimentally' invasive towards their hosts. This is to say, that viruses (usually, and most often) 'bring down' the 'quality of life' of their hosts while within their existence in said host.

3) A virus is only capable of existence within a host environment, referring to the fact that a virus cannot sustain its own existence outside of a host organism without losing some and/or all of its functional capabilities. For example, an airborne virus will either fail to multiply itself, laying dormant, or even die without a host cell organism to maintain those biological functions which it lacks.



Basically, viruses are generally bad. Although sometimes and occasionally, a virus may lend a helping hand to its host cell in some way shape or form, it is typically seen that viruses do more damage than they do good. Viruses are also typically thought to be the smallest life form or 'biological entity' on the planet, not to mention the most abundant form of biology around us.


Classifications | Functional Uses | History | Intro to Virology | Introduction | Research | Virus Types