Monthly Archives: January 2012

Viruses, Plagues and History by Michael Oldstone

Virus Goes Viral In order to better understand a discussion of viruses and/or anything viral, we need to understand the definitions of the words. Virus means: vi·rus [vahy-ruhs]  noun, plural -rus·es. 1. an ultramicroscopic (20 to 300 nm in diameter), metabolically inert, infectious agent that replicates only within the cells of living hosts, mainly bacteria, plants, and animals: composed of an RNA or DNA core, a protein coat, and, in more complex types, a surrounding envelope. 2. Informal; a viral  disease. 3. a corrupting influence on morals or the intellect; poison. 4. a segment of self-replicating code planted illegally in a computer program, often to damage or shut down a system or network.  Viral … Continue reading

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