Računalniška animacija novega koronavirusa. Vir: Pixabay
Računalniška animacija novega koronavirusa. Vir: Pixabay

Virus, who or what are you?

Are viruses alive or not alive?

There is no easy answer to this question. A virus does not feed, breathe and does not move alone.

The vast majority of viruses are not dangerous to us.

»There are about 12 to 20 different types of viruses in humans. Most of these get along with us just fine,« virologist Vincent Racaniello told RTV Slovenia.

Viruses are very small. Their structure is simple: they consist of a sequence of genes surrounded by an envelope of fat. Instead of limbs, they have proteins on the sheath that attach them to cells.

Viruses in themselves are not harmful. Most of the time, they wander randomly around the room and hope to run into some cells.

If a virus finds the right cell, it attaches to it and releases its genes. The cell starts transcribing them and new viruses are generated.

Because of their simple structure, they can easily be destroyed before they enter the body. How? Soap!

There are molecules present in soap that break the fatty envelope of the virus. They work quickly. If we wash our hands carefully for at least twenty seconds, we destroy viruses that may have stuck to our fingers.

Points to Consider

  1. Have you ever caught a virus? 
  2. What can you use instead of a soap?
  3. Do you know any interest experiments that shows how things work in every day life?


The original version of this article was published on March 18th.

English translation courtesy of JL FlannerTotal Slovenia News, an English language website with news from and about Slovenia.


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