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Senin, 26 Januari 2009

Animal Viruses

At one time or another, we have all most likely been infected with a virus. For instance, colds and the chicken pox are two common ailments that are caused by viruses. As we have seen before, animal viruses are intracellular obligate parasites that reproduce only after invading the host animal cell.

HIV Infecting Human Lymph TissueImage copyright Dennis Kunkel.


Virus Types

There are several types of animal viruses. They are commonly grouped into families according to the type of genetic material present in the virus:

Double-Stranded DNA

Double-stranded DNA viruses usually have a polyhedral or complex structure. Examples include: Papilloma (cervical cancer and warts), Herpes (simplex I and II), Epstein-Barr virus (mononucleosis) and Variola (smallpox).

Single-Stranded DNA

Single-stranded DNA viruses usually have a polyhedral structure and depend on adenoviruses for parts of their growth.

Double-Stranded RNA

Double-stranded RNA viruses usually have a polyhedral structure with the diarrhea viruses being a common example.

Single-Stranded RNA

Single-stranded RNA viruses are usually of two subtypes: those that can serve as mRNA and those that serve as a template for mRNA. Examples include: the Rhinovirus (common cold), AIDS, Rabies and the Influenza viruses.


Vaccines are made from harmless variants of viruses to stimulate an immune defense against the "real" virus. While vaccines have all but eliminated some illnesses such as smallpox, they are usually preventative in nature. They can help prevent an infection, but do not work after the fact. Once a person has been infected with a virus, little if anything can be done to cure a viral infection.

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