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do Viruses replicate inside the host?

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  • do Viruses replicate inside the host?

    I know the definition of viruses is that they are “ exosomes of DNA and rna that don’t replicate outside the host”, but does that mean that I am supposed to infer they DO replicate INSIDE the host? If the definition of viruses does not say they replicate inside the host , and if it ISN’T to be inferred that they replicate INSIDE the host, then why they should be considered contagious? Why should they be considered living? And infectious agents ? If they don’t replicate inside the host, as the definition of them doesn’t literally state that they replicate inside the host, Would that not make them just tissue fragments secreted by the body? If I am supposed to infer they replicate inside the host, is there proof that they replicate inside the host? And if I am supposed to infer they replicate inside the host, why the definition can’t be more direct and say literally that they replicate inside the host? Are the people who define them not wanting to be liable for giving a false definition Of them, that they would be guilty for, if they said directly that viruses replicate inside the host, Rather than letting people infer for themselves that they replicate inside the host, if they don’t replicate inside the host? Why the official definition of viruses is using vague terminology, if in fact I am supposed to believe that viruses replicate inside the host, given the definition that they don’t replicate outside the host? And if I am supposed to infer they replicate inside the host, Is there video evidence of that replication? If there is picture evidence of viruses , which I believe there is, why can’t there be video evidence of them replicating inside the host, which I believe there isn’t video evidence of their replicating . Is there video evidence of viruses living? And replicating ? If not, why there can be pictures of viruses, but not videos of viruses living and multiplying? The pictures don’t prove they replicate inside the host, do they? A video would prove it though, is there video evidence of it? And if there is no proof or evidence that viruses replicate inside the host, then why I should have had my penis circumcised in part to protect me from viruses? If they don’t replicate outside the host, and don’t replicate inside the host, then why be saying they replicate at all?
    Zbubs
    Senior Member
    Last edited by Zbubs; 12-11-2021, 01:27 PM.

  • #2
    Why is it important that you know whether viruses can reproduce or not? Knowing the reason may help in answering your question. But from what you have asked, and the way you asked it, it sounds like you are thinking of reproduction in the typical way, that of an organism reproducing. But viruses are not typical organisms. In fact, they are considered very unique, and their reproduction is very different than what we typically think of as reproduction. Here are several references that may help, with a sentence or so specifically pulled out, but you may find reading the references further helpful:

    "A virus is a submicroscopic infectious agent that replicates only inside the living cells of an organism." from Virus - Wikipedia

    "A virus cannot replicate alone. Viruses must infect cells and use components of the host cell to make copies of themselves." from Virus (genome.gov)

    "They lack the capacity to thrive and reproduce outside of a host body. " from What Are Viruses? | Live Science

    "They are unique because they are only alive and able to multiply inside the cells of other living things." from Viruses | What is microbiology? | Microbiology Society

    "Viruses are simply packets of nucleic acid, either DNA or RNA, surrounded by a protein shell and sometimes fatty materials called lipids. Outside a living cell, a virus is a dormant particle, lacking the raw materials for reproduction. Only when it enters a host cell does it go into action, hijacking the cell’s metabolic machinery to produce copies of itself that may burst out of infected cells or simply bud off a cell membrane. This lack of self-sufficiency means that viruses cannot be grown in artificial media for scientific research or vaccine development; they can be grown only in living cells, fertilized eggs, tissue cultures, or bacteria." from How Infection Works, Viruses — The National Academies (nas.edu)

    As you can see, how you say it can make a difference in one's understanding, and the implications one might draw from the answer. Because of that, it can sound confusing, even though all the references I provided are saying the same thing, just in their own way.

    You could say that they can't, by themselves, replicate either outside or inside a host cell. Unless they can "take over" the cell to some extent, they can't do anything. But by "taking over" the cell to some extent, they can "use" the cell to reproduce. So, in a real sense, they are not reproducing, they are just "giving" the cell instructions to create more of themselves. The cell then makes more viruses, according to the plans the virus gave it. That is why you see wording that may seem indirect about them reproducing. One way to think about them is as blueprints. A blueprint can't do anything by itself, it can't, for example, build a house. Viruses can't do anything by themselves. But they can change the cell's "blueprint" so that it then produces viruses, instead of what that cell would have done without the virus taking over.

    Whether they are alive or not really depends upon how you define "life". Some would in fact say that they are not alive, at least in the typical way we use that term.

    Hope that helps.

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