Viruses are the smallest infectious agents (ranging from about 20 to 300 nm in diameter) and contain only one kind of nucleic acid (RNA or DNA) as their genome. The nucleic acid is encased in a protein shell, which may be surrounded by a lipid-containing membrane. The entire infectious unit is termed a virion.
There are millions of different types of viruses, although only about 5,000 types have been described in detail.
Viruses enter the cell by tricking it into thinking it is something else that the cell needs. ... Its capsid or receptor proteins look like nutrients the cell needs. When the virus receptor binds to the cell receptor, the cell thinks the virus is a nutrient, and pulls it in. Now the cell is infected!
Viruses are too small and simple to collect or use their own energy – they just steal it from the cells they infect. Viruses only need energy when they make copies of themselves, and they don't need any energy at all when they are outside of a cell.
Though the details of virus infection and replication vary greatly with host type, all viruses share 6 basic steps in their replication cycles. These are: 1) attachment; 2) penetration; 3) uncoating; 4) replication; 5) assembly; 6)release.The virus must first attach itself to the host cell.
Although they contain genetic instructions in the form of DNA (or the related molecule, RNA), viruses can't thrive independently. Instead, they must invade a host organism and hijack its genetic instructions.
The human body does have some natural defenses against a virus. A cell can initiate RNA interference when it detects viral infection, which works by decreasing the influence of the virus's genetic material in relation to the cell's usual material.
The immune system also releases T-cells, which work to kill the virus. T cells function to actively destroy infected cells, as well as to signal other immune cells to participate in the immune response.
Keeping a strong immune system is your best defense against viruses. Nutrition is key with foods containing Vitamin C like grapefruits, oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes and clementines. Also Red Bell Peppers pack a good punch of Vitamin C!
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