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What is a virus?

Question asked by: knowitall

A virus is an infectious object, consisting of a core of nucleid acid in a protein shell. They do not contain cells, and as such only function if within a living cell - a host cell - where upon they disrupt the system and replicate themselves. They may alter the host DNA in the process.

Often the virus mutates, making it hard to become permanently resistent (e.g. common cold viruses).

One area of debate is as to whether viruses are truly alive. This is because they cannot exist independently of a host and are inert. The origin is also fascinating and is not known - perhaps they are degenerates of cellular organisms that have become parasites.

By: Unknown
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