Are Viruses Living?

9 June 2004

Let’s first define life. According to the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary, life is “an organismic state characterized by capacity for metabolism, growth, reaction to stimuli, and reproduction.”

Viruses are not living things. Viruses are complicated assemblies of molecules, including proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, and carbohydrates, but on their own they can do nothing until they enter a living cell. Without cells, viruses would not be able to multiply. Therefore, viruses are not living things.

When a virus encounters a cell, a series of chemical reactions occur that lead to the production of new viruses. These steps are completely passive, that is, they are predefined by the nature of the molecules that comprise the virus particle. Viruses don’t actually ‘do’ anything. Often scientists and non-scientists alike ascribe actions to viruses such as employing, displaying, destroying, evading, exploiting, and so on. These terms are incorrect because viruses are passive, completely at the mercy of their environment.

  • carl higgins

    omg!!!!!!!!!! same with me and mine we love them so much

  • littlekidwhoknowsnothing

    whhat do you mean

  • Dustin

    is a viruses a cell

  • Dustin

    hi

  • Franklin

    i like sex

  • Franklin

    i like sex
    sex
    sex

  • :/

    Awkward

  • Wow

    I found this source interesting

  • KP

    If the sum of past and future generations of viruses were to see this post which declared them not only to be dead but to have never lived in the first place, the anger and turmoil that will run through the rivers of veins inside the body of the virus will culminate into a highly evolved creature that would strike the deepest of fears in the depths of the souls of even the most courageous and bravest of humaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaans

  • Jesse

    What about evidence that shows their living

  • Jj

    Bla…

  • Classify

    According to the same dictionary you used, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a virus is classified as a living thing: “an extremely small living thing that causes a disease and that spreads from one person or animal to another”

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  • TROLOLOLOLO

    WIGGLE WIGGLE WIGGLE YOURSELF LEO BASHAW WHO HAS A USERNAME OF WIGGLEY

  • WIGGLEY

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  • WIGGLEY

    BAWk

  • WIGGLEY

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  • WIGGLEY

    kaleb i see u

  • WIGGLEY

    hi kaleb

  • christian

    hi wiggely i really really love you.

  • christian

    I see you too WIGGLEY, because im watching you in the bathroom

  • christian

    yes i would want too LEO not wiggley

  • christian

    all night long

  • HUGE WIGGLEY

    Hi Leo

  • awesome me

    thanks for doing my homework

  • Tyler myatt

    thanks

  • ryan

    thank you you just answerd everything i needed to know lol

  • S

    Can they be dead if they were never alive?

  • Candy Opal Calli.

    This helps with my homework! Thanks!

  • Christine

    The only thing I can come up with to describe them simply is “living dead”, corny as that sounds. :)

  • Far Jason

    What is your point???

  • mickwavey

    im still confused

  • deedum

    I would say viruses are not living, since their only purpose is to spread, and reproduce using a living cell as a medium,

  • Melih_2211

    Thanks for your explimination Tony!
    This helped me with my homework! :D

  • ryan

    Well really I think viruses are living based on the fact that they have a drive. what non living thing do you know what has a drive to live and reproduce? And i think viruses prove the character

  • ryan

    Of a living organism wrong

  • BURN

    Humans without earth would not be able to multiply. Therefore, humans are not living things…