Living virus?

Chan H. Chong jakechan at ix.netcom.com
Wed Sep 2 01:31:14 EST 1998

Virus can reproduce itself only by infecting living cells.  What does this
mean?  It is easy to think that virus is not live, since it needs cells to
carryout reproduction, instead of reproducing on its own.  But what about
parasites?  Do you suppose they can live without its host(s)?  Then why do
we consider them as being live?  Because they metabolize?  Reproduce?  But
if they don't have a host, they can't do either one of them.  What if a
parasite looses its interest to find a host.  It will die even before having
the chance to reproduce.  Only thing that differs is the bio-make-up of the
two:  Parasites are cellular, while viri are not.  But here is what
everything comes down to.  Do you suppose all living things serve a purpose?
Probably do in the light of the "circle of life" business.  Sure, I feel the
same way, too.  Name me one life form that serves a purpose, and one that
doesn't.  You can't.  All life seems to serve a certain purpose.  Some not
as significant as others.  But then again, what are we to apply what purpose
a life form  fulfills?  Why do we have athlete's feet?  Are those bacteria
fulfilling some sort of purpose that we are unaware of?  We may apply many
purposes to many lives that we are not even sure of.  One thing we can be
sure is that all life forms serve one same purpose.  They live to reproduce.
If the life form does not fulfill this purpose, it will die, perish, be
extinct.  Most see virus as some kind of algorithmic thing that just exists.
I can't grasp that, though.  Why are viri here?  Is this reality a giant
simulation with bugs called viri?  If so, we too are not live.  But I don't
buy that our reality is some one big virtual simulation that we think is
really the reality.  Viri serves its purpose like any other life forms.
They reproduce.  Not on its own, but they reproduce.  Again, like parasites,
they need a living host.  Viri reproduce through living cells.  They need
something live to reproduce, since it also is live.  For now, only living
things can be reproduced through living things.  Non-living things cannot be
reproduced through living things.  It won't even reproduce.  So, viri must
also be live since it is reproduced through living things.  That makes clear
sense to me, but if further questions arise, I'm welcome to meet them.  :)


Stefanie Greve wrote in message <35EB18DD.3C65 at tu-bs.de>...
>ow that virus is not a living organism, but is it still normal to
>> > > refer to a functionable virus as "living"?
>> > >
>> > > The reason for this question is some quotas I've read in newspapers.
>> > > It's about the danger of finding intact and active virus in a 80 year
>> > > old grave containing corpses who died of a disease caused by this
>> > >
>> > > Commenting on this risk, many scientists referred to such viruses as
>> > > "living". It struck me as strange to call a biological robot as being
>> > > alive, just as strange as calling my car living when it's not broken,
>> > >
>> > > my computer living when it's not crashed.
>> > >
>> > > Sincerely,
>> > > Trond Erik Vee Aune
>> > As you wrote you read it in a newspaper and not in ascientific journal.
>> > Most quotes are not as accurate as they should be, I am afraid.
>> Thanks for your response.
>> In other words it isn't customary for scientists of biology to refer to
>> functionable virus as "living"?
>> Trond Erik Vee Aune
>Hello, TRond ERik!
>In fact, until now I have never come across any biologist calling a
>virus living or alive. There are only a few students I have heard do so,
>only to be rigorously corrected by senior scientists. So I would not
>regard it customary calling a virus living. The common term in
>Brauschweig - I don`t know what you call it elsewhere - is
>active/inactive. You are not a biologist, are you?

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