Viruses – Infection Causing Organisms
A virus is an extremely small organism that causes infections. Uniquely, viruses must invade and occupy a living cell to survive. In size viruses are much smaller than fungi or bacteria. Viruses are not plants, animals, or single-cell organisms without defined nuclei called prokaryotic bacteria, and they are generally placed in their own kingdom. In fact, viruses are not self sufficient in that they cannot reproduce and carry on metabolic processes without a host cell.
All true viruses contain nucleic acid as a complex organic substance; usually either DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid); or RNA (ribonucleic acid) and protein. The nucleic acid encodes the genetic information unique for each virus among the hundreds of viruses and virus substrates. The virus attaches to and then enters a cell, releasing its DNA or RNA (not both) inside the cell. The DNA or RNA of a virus represents its genetic code as the information required to take control of the cell and force its infected viral replication.
Viruses are also a form of parasites depending on a host cell for almost all of their life-sustaining functions. Unlike true organisms, viruses cannot synthesize proteins, because they lack ribosomes called cell organelles for the translation of viral messenger RNA into proteins. Viruses must use the ribosomes of their host cells to translate viral mRNA into needed viral proteins. Viruses as parasites additionally cannot generate or store energy in the form of ATP or adenosine triphosphate. The virus derives energy, in addition to all other metabolic functions, from the invaded host cell.
The Virion and Virion Capsid
The outside of the infected cell with a virus is called the virion, containing a minimum of one unique protein synthesized by specific genes in the nucleic acid of that virus. In virtually all viruses, at least one of these proteins forms a shell called a capsid around the nucleic acid.
The virion capsid has three functions:
(1) to protect the viral nucleic acid from digestion by certain enzymes or nucleases,
(2) to furnish sites on the virion surface to recognize and attach or adsorb the virion to receptors on the surface of the host cell, and, in some viruses,
(3) to provide proteins forming a component to enable the virion to penetrate through the cell surface membrane or, in special cases, to inject the infectious nucleic acid into the interior of the host cell.
Viroids and Prions
Viroids meaning “viruslike,” are disease-causing organisms containing only nucleic acid and having no structural proteins. Other viruslike particles called prions are composed primarily of a protein tightly complexed with a small nucleic acid molecule. Prions resistant to inactivation are assumed causes of degenerative brain disease in humans and other mammals.
Nucleic Acid – The Infectious Virus Part
The invading virus uses the nucleotides and amino acids of the host cell to synthesize its nucleic acids and proteins, respectively, into production of chemical compounds. Some viruses use the lipids and sugar chains of a unique host cell to form their viral membranes and glycoproteins as proteins linked to short polymers consisting of several sugars.
The true infectious part of any virus is its nucleic acid, either DNA or RNA, but never both. In many viruses, but not all, the nucleic acid alone, stripped of its capsid, can infect cells. In most virus invasions of host cells the viral genetic material takes over and changes the function of the invaded cells. This invasion prevents the invaded cells from performing their intended and original functions.
Virus Host Cells and Virus Spread through Replication
While the host cell in most instances dies because it can no longer perform its designed function in the body, new viruses are replicated and released prior to cell death thus enabling infection of other cells.
In some cases the infected cells do not die and becomes cancerous on cell division. Other infected cells do not die, but lie dormant as a latent infection for an extended time until some event reactivates the virus to again become infectious causing a disease occurrence.
Viruses are transmitted in various ways and can be airborne, animal to animal; animal to human and human to human. Coughing and sneezing and increased body temperature are conveyances and symptoms.
Body Immune System Defense
When a virus enters the body, the body’s immune system defense representing 1/5 of the bodies cells, is activated by immune cells identifying the invading viruses as non-self, or not produced by the body, for a body function. The initial immune response is from the white blood cells, such as lymphocytes and monocytes such as the immune macrophage cells. Those over 50 years of age, transplant recipients and those with chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, HIV and hepatitis are especially susceptible because of compromised and declining immune cells.
Suggested Actions Include,
- Frequent washing of hands including 20 seconds of thorough scrubbing of fingers, finger tips, between fingers and back of hand;
- Wearing of protective masks, preferably P95, to help avoid touching the face that can transmit the virus and, if infected, spreading the virus;
- Good hygiene in elimination (coronavirus can be transmitted by feces), bathing and staying isolated if coughing or sneezing.
- Also, no shaking of hands or knuckle bumping.
- Avoiding virus potential exposure in virus susceptible locations and groups, with safe space of 6 feet between those present and
- Normalizing of the immune cells by biological defense modifiers often described as immune system enhancers.
- Abiding by legal requirements for a given area and monitoring of local, regional, national and world news.
Antibiotics Not Effective Against Viral Infections
Antibiotics are not effective against viral infections, but if susceptible to or having a bacterial infection; as an example bacterial pneumonia after a viral cold, an antibiotic may be indicated. Those compromised by a fungal infection should maintain dietary, supplemental and pharmaceutical protocols for a defensive recovery plan.
Upper Respiratory Viral Infections
Upper respiratory infections are the most common viral infections and involve the nose, throat, sinusitis lungs and influenza. The extremely dangerous and highly contagious Covid-19 virus is in most cases an attack on the lungs as an upper respiratory infection, but can attack and become latent in other body areas. Covid-19 is a form of the Coronavirus derived from animals that can also be transmitted human to human, including by airborne and delayed transferal symptoms.
The Covid-19 virus often yields to becoming viral pneumonia. Do not take Ibuprofen if Covid-19 is suspected as this intensifies the illness. Those who have fallen ill with Covid-19 are reported to frequently suffer coughs, fever and breathing difficulties, the latter making you feel like you are drowning. In severe Covid-19 cases there can be organ failure and sadly, death.
As this is viral pneumonia, as previously stated, antibiotics are of no use. The antiviral drugs we have against flu will not work against Covid-19; however because of the risk of co-morbidity where Covid-19 can cause bacterial pneumonia and bacterial respiratory issues, a Zithromax Z-pak form of prescription antibiotic may be indicated, but if taking avoid sun light.
Recovery from Covid-19 depends on the strength of the individual immune system, effective viral drugs and a vaccine when available. Many who contract Covid-19 never exhibit symptoms but can still be carriers for extended periods. Most of those who have died from Covid-19 (less than 1.9%) were already in poor health with one or more chronic conditions and elderly, but the young are not excluded.
Different drugs are under study with promise, including two now allowed for malaria and arthritis by the FDA being made legal for Covid-19 under physician supervision – hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine phosphate. Several vaccine studies are in testing, but will be months away from usage. Whether the Covid-19 virus will mutate into different forms is probable, but the future is not known at this time.
Stay updated on the Corona Covid-19 a virus from the U. S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) at the following link: