Do you know facts about viruses? Viruses are small infectious agents that can only reproduce in living host cells. When infected, the host cell is forced to produce thousands of identical copies of the original virus rapidly. Viruses themselves do not have cells. The formation of new viruses takes place in the infected host cell because virus doesn’t have metabolism tools. Here are facts about viruses that will add to your insight.
7 Facts About Viruses
- Viruses Are Not Technically Living
Many people imagine that viruses are like other microbes such as fungi and bacteria. Viruses are really just collections of biological material that need living cells to operate, so they are not technically viable.
Even so, viruses can mutate, they can spread to their host cells in different styles. That’s why everyone doesn’t have the same reaction when they get the virus.
- What You Need To Know About Ebola
The novel coronavirus is the most mysterious virus spreading at the moment, because not much is known about this. But like other “family” coronaviruses such as MERS and SARS they attack many animals and can mutate.
If we talk about a truly mysterious virus that we hardly know about, Ebola might be at the top of the list. Although it is thought that the Ebola virus occurs, it is transmitted by fruit bats, because they have genetic material similar to that of Ebola. However, no traces of the Ebola virus from fruit bats have been captured and isolated.
Besides, Ebola doesn’t affect other animals as much as we do, and we don’t know why. Most of the animals that researchers have tested, such as mice and bats, can easily fight it.
- Viruses Can Be the Reason Why Many Starfish Die
Starfish enthusiasts and biologists discovered a worrying problem in 2013. Almost all starfish in the waters around North America suddenly begin to develop large lesions, before mysteriously dissolving into goo’s in just a few weeks.
Although no one could explain it at first, some recent research suggests that a viral disease may be responsible for it. Fortunately, starfish populations are recovering from the catastrophe, as recent generations appear to have developed immunity to the virus.
- Viruses Can Find New Genes
Viruses themselves also have the ability to change genes. First, they are able to store much larger amounts of biological information than ordinary viruses, even if they behave exactly like them. There are even genes that do not have a hereditary record of genes themselves, usually, these genes are called single genes.
According to a study carried out by French researchers, the genes may not have been ‘single’ at all, but were produced by a giant virus itself. They found that giant viruses like the Pandora virus are able to generate new random genes quickly, which explains why about 90% of the genetic code is unique to them. We still don’t know the evolutionary reason behind developing this ability, because other viruses seem pretty good without it.
- How Viruses Make Friends
By now, it is clear that we know very little about viruses, especially in terms of how they interact with and change their hosts. But what is more confusing is how they communicate with other viruses. From all that we know, viruses shouldn’t have any mechanisms for consciously interacting with one another and should only be able to mutate in response to the actions of their hosts, because they lack the biological infrastructure necessary to generate and carry complex signals.
However, as couples’ research is looking into, viruses may have a much more active role in how outbreaks develop than we previously thought. One researcher found that viruses regularly broadcast important information to their brethren via proteins, such as when to sleep, how many uninfected host cells are left, when to invade, and so on.
- Sleeping Viruses
We assume that the scariest viruses are those that spread too fast or kill their victims in gruesome ways, even though they are not. Those factors actually work against viruses that want to infect as many hosts as possible, as it is difficult to spread far and wide if you kill your host with large, visible lesions within hours. A truly terrifying virus like the current COVID-19 coronavirus is one that can be dormant for years, maybe even centuries, while continuing to multiply and infect more hosts.
It’s not just the imagination of horror movies, because we already know some viruses that can remain dormant in us for long periods of time. Some of them, like herpes, can even be reactivated by spacecraft, as has been seen in more than half of all astronauts ever sent on space missions.
- Virus Life Cycle
The virus life cycle can be either lytic or lysogenic cycle. The lytic cycle is viral replication accompanied by the death of the host cell. The formation of new virus offspring in the lytic cycle occurs when the host cell’s defense is weak compared to the viral infection power. Then the stage of viral replication is fast. The lytic cycle of the host cell will break down and die after a new virus (virion) is formed.
The lysogenic cycle occurs when the host cell has a better defense against viral infection. So, the host cell does not immediately break down, and can even reproduce normally. The viral DNA or RNA interacts into the chromosome of the host cell to form a prophage and this can be passed on to both daughter cells through reproduction. When the prophage in the host daughter cell becomes active, the virus will reproduce lytically.
Viruses Change the Perspective of the World
Viruses have at least changed the world today, just as the way we interact with people is different because of social distancing. In addition, history records that there are many viruses that have changed the world, for example, the Black Death is very deadly, almost all people who are affected by this virus do not survive. It is the most terrifying thing that happens on this Earth. Besides that, there was an epidemic, Small Pox which nearly wiped out 90% of Native Americans when the plague hit they had no immunity until the 16th century.
Those are the facts about viruses that can add to your insight. May be useful!