All the important information you need to know about viruses and how they work
What is a virus in the human body? This is a very common question that most people especially those in the medical sector are asked quite often. This is mainly due to an increase in the number of viral diseases in present times thereby necessitating the need to know more about these micro-organisms. Viral infections have in the recent past been noted to be the number one causes of most diseases in human beings and animals as well as plants.
What is a virus in the human body?
Defining a virus
A virus (latin word that means toxin or poison) is a micro-organism that consists of a genetic material (DNA or RNA) that is surrounded by a fat/lipid, protein or glycoprotein coat. These micro-organisms are non-living and only reproduce by inserting genetic material into a host cell and controls the functions of the host. The infected host cell reproduces viral protein and genetic materials instead of its normal products.
How do viruses spread among humans?
The spread of these micro-organisms can either be vertical (from mother-child) or horizontal (person-person). The ability of these parasitic micro-organisms to spread in the body is hugely dependent on the makeup and properties of the virus. There are some that spread through simple contact, saliva exchanges like when kissing, coughing and sneezing. There are also others that only spread through sexual contact like HIV while some of these micro-organisms require an insect to spread from one person to the other. Understanding how these micro-organisms spread is very important in defining what is a virus in the human body and how its spread can be countered.
How does the body fight viruses?
When the immune system detects the presence of a virus/viral infection in the body, it responds generically through RNA interference. This process degrades the genetic material in the micro-organism thereby enabling the affected cells to survive the infection. In addition to this, the immune system also releases anti-bodies that bind with the micro-organisms to make them non-infectious. Although the body is able to naturally fight most of these micro-organisms, there are some such as HIV that are very good in evading and countering the immune system. Such micro-organisms are destroyed artificially by taking anti-viral medications.
Understanding what is a virus in the human body goes a long way in taking the necessary preventive measures against these micro-organisms. It is worth noting that there are many available preventive vaccinations of most common viral infections such as mumps, measles, rubella, smallpox and polio among other infections.