Are viruses alive - Essay Example

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Viruses are microscopic agents that survive only in the nucleus of cells of other living organisms.This implies that viruses live in any living thing both plants and animals.They replicate inside the cells and,in some advanced cases,they feed on the nucleus of the cells thus resulting in the death of the cells…
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Download file to see previous pages Viruses are microscopic agents that survive only in the nucleus of cells of other living organisms. This implies that viruses live in any living thing both plants and animals. They replicate inside the cells and, in some advanced cases, they feed on the nucleus of the cells thus resulting in the death of the cells. Viruses have unspecified structure of deoxyribonucleic acid commonly referred to as the DNA (Dilcher, 2000). The DNA defines the structure of cells, the fact that viruses have indefinite DNAs makes them capable of changing their structure from time to time thus making it difficult for the body cells to identify and remove them from the cell structures. Among the most notorious virus is the Human Immunodeficiency virus that causes the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, AIDS (Nelson, 2010). This research article therefore employs an effective analysis of this single virus to describe the features of other viruses by extension. The structure of a virus A virus is an organism with a simple structure, this is arguably the smallest organism on earth and due to its small size, the organism cannot survive on its own, it thus requires the cell of a host organism to thrive. Viruses have the simplest structures composed of only three components. These are the nucleic acid, the protein coat and the lipid membrane. The nucleic acid is the most essential part of the virus; it contains the deoxyribonucleic and the ribonucleic acids. The two acids define the virus; they contain all the necessary information for the virus to define its unique indefinite structure and to make it multiply (Theodora, Guoying & Dimitris, 2002). The nucleic acid is lightly dispensed in surrounding plasma all of which are enclosed in a protein coat. This is a light layer of pure protein elements that protects the components of the virus. The protein layer defines the virus. However, being purely protein, the coat lacks definite shape to constitute the definite structure of a virus. The soft coat is highly permeable allowing free movement of molecules in and out of the virus. The structure of the protein further changes according to the protein composition of the host cell, this enables the virus to vary its acidity and alkalinity levels to suit that of the host cell thus permit its survival. Besides the two components of a virus is the lipid membrane. This is a layer found after the protein membrane. However most viruses lack this layer and survive only with the protein layer as the most outside coat. Viruses that lack this final outer coat are generally referred to as naked cells. The lipid membrane performs the edge formation function thus defining the virus. It also lacks such strong elements as keratin and lipid and therefore aids in the indefinite structures of viruses. Virus infection process Unlike other living organisms, a virus cannot survive on its own; viruses have no chemical composition to exist without the assistance of a host cell. Host cells on which a virus mounts itself is referred to as a receptor (Agalioti & Prekh, 2001). Viruses choose their receptor carefully taking into consideration the information in the viruse’s deoxyribonucleic and ribonucleic acid this implies that every virus has its specific receptor. Once a virus gains entry into the body of a living organism, they attach themselves to their respective receptor cells from where they thrive through the rigorous replication process (Dilcher, 2000). The flu causing virus shows preference for the mucus coating cells found in the lungs and other airwaves in the body. The HI Virus on the other hand shows indiscriminate preference to white blood cells in the body of a living organism. Since viruses cannot survive alone, they do not therefore freely exist in the environment but are carried in the body cells of other previously infected organisms. They thus transfer from these organisms to the other through contact of the bodies that possibly results in the exposure of the body cells of the second victim. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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