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What Happens When A Virus Infects You?

By Edited May 26, 2016 0 0

The Two Types Of Viral Infection

After a virus lands on a host cell, it injects its DNA into the living cell. Their DNA, or genetic material, is then either replicated immediately by the host cell or it remains inactive in the cell. The two types of viral infections are called Lytic Infections and Lysogenic Infections. Although they sound similar there are some major differences between them.

Virus

Lytic Infections

In a Lytic Infection the virus enters a host cell, and injects its genetic material. The virus makes many copies of itself inside of the cell. The cell gets so filled with viruses that it bursts. Usually the virus has a DNA core surrounded by a protein capsid. When a cell gets infected, the virus attaches itself onto the cell and injects its DNA into the cell. The cell then begins to make messenger RNA (mRNA) from the viral genes. Then the viral mRNA is morphed into viral proteins that begin to destroy the cell's DNA. Once the viral proteins have full control of the cell, the cell's metabolic system makes thousands of copies of viral nucleic acid and capsid proteins (Basically viral DNA). Finally the viral DNA is made into new viruses. After a while the infected cell Lyses[1], or burst, releasing hundreds of new viruses that may infect other cells.

Lysogenic Infections

Some viral infections are called Lysogenic Infections, in which the cell is not taken over immediately. After the virus attacks a host cell it inserts its DNA into the cell's DNA. The viral DNA is copied along with the cell's DNA. This doesn't cause any harm to the cell, however the virus spreads throughout the body unnoticed. The harm comes when an environmental factor, such as radiation, heat, or chemicals, causes the virus to become active. The virus then removes itself from the cell's DNA and begins to make new viruses. At first it is called a Dormant Lysogenic Infection, but after the virus is active, it is called an Active Lysogenic Infection. Since the virus has been replicated all throughout the body, cell destruction on a large scale begins. This type of viral infection is a characteristic of one of the most deadly viruses around, HIV/AIDS.

Virus Injecting DNA
How Pathogenic Viruses Work
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Bibliography

  1. William Morris "Lyses." The American Heritage Dictionary. 1982.

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