The word “virus” is an extremely misleading term. While viruses do cause disease, they are a completely different class of virus compared to bacteria. Bacteria can multiply and harm living matter; viruses cannot reproduce by cell division. This is a major difference between a virus and a bacteria. While viruses cause infection, bacteria are a part of our immune system that kills viruses and prevents the spread of disease to other people. Viruses attack and cause disease; in this case, the disease would be spread to other people through the spread of virus particles.
The first known virus dates back to the beginning of the human civilization. Over time, with the passing of time, the virus has become more complex, capable of replicating itself and changing its genetic code to elude detection. At this point, the virus has adapted and changes into various types of microorganisms that includes viruses, fungi, protozoa and bacteria. The major component of the virus is a DNA sequence, which contains instructions on how to make the virus to perform specific functions.
The genetic makeup of the virus consists of four essential components – genetic coding, RNA or ribonucleic acid, transcription factor and transposons. The coding is responsible for encoding information in the form of genetic strings, that when put together, will produce the actual protein used in an organism. When the code is tampered with, the DNA that is responsible for replicating the virus is affected and this will allow the virus to divide uncontrollably into millions of copies that will seek to reproduce itself.
In order for viruses to reproduce, it needs a host – a single cell of a living material that can sustain its growth and reproduction. The virus enters the host cell through a tiny hole in the cell’s outer membrane called a transposon. The transposon attaches itself to the infected cell and then triggers the viral reproduction process.
The envelope is the vital part of the virus that replicates itself and makes copies of itself to spread from the host to a new cell. The viral envelope is enveloped by a thin layer of lipids called the latum that protects the cell membrane. The viruses are unable to penetrate the thick layer of lipids that surrounds the cell membrane, thereby triggering a chain reaction that produces millions of copies of the virus. This viral reproduction takes place within a few hours after the virus has entered the cell.
While the virus is able to replicate and spread, it is unable to cause harm to the host organism. Most organisms can live without being harmed by the virus, but the bacteria develops symptoms after it is infected with the virus. These symptoms are commonly known as colds or fever and include fever, fatigue, headache, aches and pains, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain. The body can also produce antibodies against the virus if it is exposed to the infectious agent for prolonged periods of time, thus creating a form of immunization against the virus. Since many diseases of the type have no cure, it is important to develop a vaccine to prevent disease and spread.