Carl Zimmer has written two very meaningful books recently.
One is on the world of viruses. It creates a meaningful picture
for the world of viruses and their interaction with humans.
Virus, as a term, initially meant venom from a snake or the semen
from a man. Its meaning evolved over time to mean a contagious
substance that could spread disease and initially used a tobacco
disease, tobacco mosaic virus.
Bijerinck used virus to describe an agent in the fluid which was
composed of 95% protein and 5% nucleic acid, a protein shell holding
a few genes.
Carl Zimmer outlines eight classes of viruses and how they originated
and infect humans. So many of these virus types are treated via
chemical means. Classes included-
1. rhinovirus (meaning ‘nose’ virus) spread by hands, doorknobs
2. influenza (from the Italian) droplets in air released from coughs,
sneezes, and runny noses
3. human papilloma virus HPV Papilloma virus require some physical
4. ocean viruses - many types in water systems, are still being discovered
Cholera is caused by blooms of waterborne bacteria
which are hosts to a number of phages, that are viruses.
5. Retroviruses insert their genetic material into hosts DNA.
HIV is spread by contact with body fluids
6. West Nile Virus is spread by mosquito.
7. Ebola - spread by body fluids
8. Large virus organisms and bacteriophages
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