What are viruses?

  • Viruses are non-cellular beings that consist of a nucleic acid core (DNA or RNA) which is surrounded by a protein coat. The nucleic acid encodes the unique genetic information for each virus. The shape and size of viruses are determined by the amount and arrangement of the proteins and nucleic acid. 
  • They can be encoded in so many ways. For example, Rotaviruses are based on a double strand of RNA.
  • Coronaviruses are based on a single strand of RNA, which is 'positive sense', as in it can be translated directly into new proteins whereas, Influenza has negative-sense RNA, which means it needs an extra transcribing step before it can make proteins.
  • In DNA viruses, it forces the host to transcribe its genome into RNA on entry. For example -Smallpox and herpes viruses.


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