Are viruses dead or alive?
1. Living things must maintain homeostasis
2. Living things have different levels of organization.
3. Living things reproduce.
4. Living things grow.
5. Living things use energy.
6. Living things respond to stimuli.
7. Living things adapt to their environment.
Consider the following:
- If a virus isn’t alive, does that affect how we deal with viral infections? Absolutely. Antibiotics, for example, are used to treat bacterial infections, and are useless at dealing with a viral infection like the flu or chickenpox. Antibiotics target certain parts of bacteria in the hopes of killing them; with viruses it’s hard to kill something that isn’t quite alive to begin with. Instead of destroying the virus, antiviral medicines try to shut off the replication cycle, like shutting down the android production line.
- What happens if a virus infects another virus? Scientists found a bacteria-sized giant virus which they named mamavirus. Upon further study, it turned out that this giant virus actually had a smaller virus associated with it. When mamavirus infected amoebae, it created a giant virus factory, whose machinery was then hijacked by the smaller virus (Sputnik). Some scientists have pointed out the fact that if a virus can get sick, then it is should be considered a living thing. (Pearson).