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What is a virus

jaymone jaymone at paonline.com
Mon Jun 23 03:20:45 EST 2003

I n my opion, viruses are not living.  This of course begs for a definition
of life.  In my simple terms, a living organism can extract energy from the
environment and redirect that energy towards reproducing progeny like
itself.  Viruses fail this test, since they are totally unable to extract or
utilize metabolic energy except in the context of a host cell.  If
biological viruses are indeed alive, then what about computer viruses, which
perform cery much the same functions as biological viruses, but exist only
in machines.  Viruses, possessing only a piece of genetic material and a few
proteins (occasionally some enzymes, are completely inert without the host
cell's metabolic machinery.  Prions and viriods take this wierd world of
infectious agents even deeper into the shadows between animate and inanimate
objects.  After studying these organisms for the past twenty years, I still
don;t think I can consider them alive oin the biological sense.

Jay Mone


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