What Is A Virus? ( Know with Images)

Nowadays, you may have already heard about the virus. You may have already heard that it is an element that can be a reason for various types of diseases and ailments. However, do you know what a virus actually is? Let us discuss this below.

Viruses are microscopic, non-cellular, and infectious agents that can only replicate inside a host cell. According to biology, we cannot classify viruses as either non-living or living organisms.

A virus may be an infection-causing agent which can only replicate within a host organism. The reason is that they possess some specific defining characteristics of both non-living and living entities.

So, the answer to the question of what a virus is is that it is an infectious, non-cellular entity made up of a specific protein and genetic material that can invade and even reproduce only within the living cells of plants, bacteria, and animals.

For instance, a virus cannot replicate itself or reproduce outside the host cell. The reason is that viruses lack the needed cellular machinery.

Hence, it must enter and attach itself to a particular host cell. Only then can it inject its genetic material and reproduce using the host’s genetic material. After that, it can split open the host’s cell and release new viruses.

Moreover, viruses can be crystallized, which any other living organisms cannot do at all. These factors lead to viruses being categorized in grey areas, that is, between the non-living and living elements.

Structure Of Viruses

Viruses are very small in size, ranging between 30-50 nm. A virus does not have a cell and even lacks a cell. However, this entity is surrounded by a protective protein coating which is called a capsid. A virus may contain either DNA or RNA as the genetic material.

Important properties of viruses

Viruses have spikes that help them in getting attached to the host cell.

Viruses are non-cellular microorganisms that are covered in a protective envelope.

The protein coat that surrounds the viruses is called a capsid; within it, the viruses have a nucleic acid core of either RNA or DNA.

Viruses do not grow or respire, but they reproduce.

Viruses can be considered both non-living and living things. These entities remain active while residing outside of the host cells but behave as active entities within the host cells. 

Viruses use raw materials and enzymes to cause infections in the host cell.

Classifications of viruses

Viruses can be of various types, such as:

Based On The Nucleic Acid: Depending on the type of nucleic acid, viruses can be of two types: DNA and RNA.

Based On The Host Range: Based on the host type, viruses can be of four different types, such as plant viruses, animal viruses, insect viruses, and bacteriophage.

Plant viruses infect plant cells; animal viruses infect animal cells; insect viruses infect the cells of insects. And bacteriophages infect bacterial cells.

So, in this article, we have learned various fantastic factors regarding a virus.

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