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Questions tagged [virology]

Virology deals with the study of viruses, infectious entities that require the machinery of a host cell to replicate.

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Why isn't a virus “alive”?

The recent news about a new supermassive virus being discovered got me thinking about how we define viruses as non-living organisms whilst they are bigger than bacteria, and much more complex than we ...
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Why have parasites not evolved to be harmless?

I have yet to understand why so many viruses or bacteria haven't evolved to be harmless (specifically, I don't know of any harmless virus). I think it would be greatly beneficial for a virus to ...
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Changing the definition of life?

Viruses at this period of time do not fit the current definition of life. Much of the reasoning behind this is that we currently believe that all life must be made up of cells. Also, many biologist/...
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Why don't we develop immunity against common cold?

We all suffer from common cold, and that, frequently. Why have we not developed immunity against it till now? By immunity I mean immunity as a species.
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What causes a 'stuffy' or 'runny' nose when you have a cold?

When humans get the common cold, a common symptom is a stuffy or runny nose. Is that the body's immune response or is that the virus's doing?
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1answer
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How did viruses come to be?

My question is out of curiosity and got me thinking. How did viruses with the head, tail and tail fibres actually evolve? These viruses look more like machines than biological entities. Are there any ...
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2answers
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Why is rabies incurable?

I'm still not sure about the mechanics that lead to rabies being incurable. I know that it can be treated before any symptoms show up, but why is it that once symptoms show the person is a dead man ...
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Could viruses be used as antibiotics?

Could we use viruses that only affect bacteria to act as antibiotics? The more bacteria, the more times the virus divides, so the stronger it gets. Is this practical?
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How does the ebola virus attack?

How does the ebola virus attack and how do some people get away with it? Normally any virus would attack a cell with some kind of receptors and some kind of lock and key mechanism entering the cell ...
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Are viruses self-propelled?

So obviously, viruses are nonliving. But when my teacher was teaching viruses in the video (we're doing "flip" learning this semester), the way he described it, it seemed like the viruses responded to ...
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2answers
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Why do I need a flu shot every year, while many other vaccinations last years or even a lifetime?

Is it a viral vs. bacterial thing? Is there just more variety among types of flu than other diseases, so that this year's vaccines don't cover next year's flu?
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1answer
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How exactly can dsRNA be introduced to a cell?

Is it just by viruses or are there other means by which it gets into cells, such as plasmid uptake?
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Agony, Hydrophobia and viruses in the light of evolutionary principles

I'm undergraduate physics student, but I've always been interested in biology. So I have a couple of questions about an application of the evolutionary principles to practice. Agony as the last stage ...
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5answers
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How does HIV mutate into other strains while keeping their virulent phenotype?

How does a virus like HIV mutate into so many strains, and yet all of them are harmful to our immune system? What gives this virus the ability to mutate so efficiently?
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Do beneficial viruses exist? If so, what examples are there?

Typically, people call viruses some kind of organic compounds that cannot reproduce autonomously and which lower the fitness of their hosts. Even the word "virus" means "venom" in Latin. But from the ...
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3answers
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Can the dead be brought back to life by viruses?

Zombies have been a part of popular culture for decades. The living dead rising up to take over the world is a terrifying concept, worthy of Hollywood blockbusters and television hits. Some of those ...
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2answers
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Why doesn't blood remain on a mosquito's proboscis in quantities that could spread blood-borne diseases?

We know that HIV can't be transmitted by mosquitos, and nor can other highly virulent viruses that are transmitted through blood and bodily fluid exchanges, such as Ebola (thankfully!). Marcus Junius ...
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1answer
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How does herpes (HSV) infection suppress HIV?

HIV compromises the human body to defend against infection. Yet people who are infected with herpes are at less risk of developing AIDS. How does this work?
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Why does rabies cause hydrophobia?

What feature of rabies pathophysiology causes hydrophobia? Why is hydrophobia unique to this one particular type of viral infection?
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1answer
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What is the name of the category of viruses that affect only one side of the body?

The Varicella zoster virus causes chickenpox in children and shingles in adults. When the virus attacks as shingles, one of its distinguishing characteristics is that it only affects one side of the ...
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1answer
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How heavy are all foreign microorganisms in and on the human body?

I define "foreign microorganism" as a microorganism which is not produced by the human body (not antibodies or leukocytes) including bacteria, viruses, fungi, biofilm aggregates or small lifeforms ...
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2answers
680 views

Why do viruses last longer on hard surfaces, like glass, than porous ones

All the papers I've read about survival of viruses outside of the host refer to longer survival times on hard surfaces without explaination. As a layman I would have thought that a virus (who's main ...
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2answers
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How long do viruses, such as Zika, stay in the body?

Can a virus stay in your body (after recovery) in a concentration that is sufficient to infect someone? Is it known how long the Zika virus persists in the body?
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2answers
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What is the life cycle of a wart?

There doesn't seem to be a lot of information available on research done on warts. What is the life cycle of a wart? How does it spread? -- specifically how does it recruit cells to spread it? What ...
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2answers
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Why Can't The Immune Systems of Uncontacted Tribes Handle Our Common Colds?

I'm sorry if this is a stupid question, I'm just starting my first year of a biomedicine degree and I'm curious - googling didn't find me any answers. I know that the Aboriginal Australians and many ...
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Why are some viruses not communicable person-to-person?

Below are two quotes from the CDC about Hantavirus: "Researchers believe that people may be able to get the virus if they touch something that has been contaminated with rodent urine, droppings,...
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1answer
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Since RNA viruses and retroviruses all have high mutation rates, why do only a few viruses have the virtue of variability?

We have been taught that it's difficult to make vaccines to influenza, HIV and HCV because they lack the proofreading mechanism, hence have high mutation rates. But most RNA viruses and retroviruses ...
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1answer
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We know that the hepatitis C virus can live on surfaces for at least six weeks. Maybe longer. The infectivity study ended after just six weeks; why?

Background A paper has found that the hepatitis C virus (HCV) can remain infective for at least six weeks on ordinary household surfaces. You can see the free full text, or a summary for busy ...
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1answer
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A study found that the hepatitis C virus can live on surfaces for six weeks. Did they end the study before the seventh week began?

A study once found that the hepatitis C virus (HCV) can remain infective for six weeks on ordinary household surfaces. You can see the free full text, or a summary for busy clinicians. What happened ...
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Is there any evidence that smallpox immunity or resistance is heritable

Is any means by which smallpox would lead to genocide of the native Americans?