Essay about Viruses: Organism and Hot Zone Pages

Submitted By amw56507
Words: 398
Pages: 2

Are Viruses Living Things?

My opinion on viruses is that they are not living. After reading The Hot Zone and researching viruses on the internet, I do not believe they are living. Even though viruses have some characteristics of living things, they do not have them all. For example, viruses lack the “structure” that most life forms have. They have their own DNA but don’t possess the trait needed to reproduce on their own. On page 418 in The Hot Zone, the definition for a virus is given and it states that, “A virus depends on living cells in order to replicate.” Viruses also need a “host” to do perform many of the other characteristics you need to be classified as living. Viruses also have the ability to become “dormant” for a period of time. In this state, the virus is practically harmless and could be considered nothing more than a particle. The virus becomes “alive” once it reaches a host body and infects it. Only when it is connected to a host, can it reproduce, infect others, etc. For example, the book talks about the aids virus on pages 407-409. The Aids virus is considered a hot virus and an infectious agent but, can only be transmitted from human to human and started from primate to human. Otherwise, the aids virus is harmless since there is no host and no cells for it to live in. Another virus mentioned in the book was Ebola Reston. Specifically on page 366 the author mentioned that Ebola Reston was affecting the monkey host but did nothing when it came in contact with the people