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Viruses, explained

Viruses multiply

Viruses cannot move or reproduce without the help of a host cell. When a virus finds a host, it can increase and spread quickly.

To find a host, viruses have receptors on their surfaces that match up with their ideal target cell. It then takes over the cellular machinery inside the host's cell to reproduce by multiplying the virus's genetic material and proteins.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Viruses, explained

Viruses, explained

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/health-and-human-body/human-diseases/viruses/

nationalgeographic.com

3

Key Ideas

Virus

Viruses are not alive by most definitions. They are generally smaller than most bacteria, about a tenth of the size of a human blood cell. 

The structure of a virus is very simple: Each one consists of either DNA or RNA, enclosed in a protein pocket called a capsid. Viruses can't generate their own energy nor reproduce without the assistance of a host.

Viruses multiply

Viruses cannot move or reproduce without the help of a host cell. When a virus finds a host, it can increase and spread quickly.

To find a host, viruses have receptors on their surfaces that match up with their ideal target cell. It then takes over the cellular machinery inside the host's cell to reproduce by multiplying the virus's genetic material and proteins.

How viruses spread

  • Inside their cellular host, a virus can create a huge number of copies and spread the infection to other cells.
  • Viruses may spread from person to person through the mist of droplets from your mouth every time you cough or sneeze.
  • Some viruses spread through contact with other bodily fluids. Ebola virus spreads from contact with infected blood, feces, or vomit, and not through the air.
  • Other viruses travel through an intermediary, like a mosquito, which then infects people by biting them.

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For Doctors, vaccines are preferable to drugs as they protect the host even before any infection.

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Our immune system

The immune system does an outstanding job most of the time. To provide such excellent protection against bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi, our immune system must continuously learn.

Innate immunity

Innate immunity cells quickly respond to invaders and can deal with over 90% of infections.
These cells recognize invaders by looking for broadly shared patterns, such as common molecules on the surface of most bacteria.

Adaptive immunity

When the innate response fails to deal with an invasion, the adaptive immunity takes over. The adaptive cell looks for a specific pattern. It could be a particular protein on the surface of a virus or bacteria.

There are millions of adaptive immune cells, each to recognize a different pattern. When they recognize an invader, they multiply to form an army to kill it. This process can take a week when a new invader infects us. After the invader is removed, the adaptive cells that recognized it are kept as specialized memory cells.

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