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How long do a virus live?

About microscopic forms of life, including Bacteria, Archea, protozoans, algae and fungi. Topics relating to viruses, viroids and prions also belong here.

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Postby choozi » Fri Oct 16, 2009 10:56 am

question was that how long virus alive , it was not the point either they are living or not., when old cells stop performing function they are called dead, similarly when virus stop performing function it will be dead, and main function performed by virus is replication. shouldn't we consider it dead after replication because it lose its identity after replicating itself..
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Postby JackBean » Fri Oct 16, 2009 12:30 pm

So, you are saying, that you could ask, how long are stones alive and not care, whether they are alive or not?

Your theory has a little problem, if it was so, than your virus would cycle between life and death ;)
http://www.biolib.cz/en/main/

Cis or trans? That's what matters.
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Postby choozi » Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:13 pm

no i did not mean that, i think it is decided that virus is living because it has the ability to make copies of itself, having genetic material which is one of the main properties of living things, the point is that how long it remain alive,which we obviously can not discuss about nonliving .
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Postby canalon » Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:30 pm

Technically, you should say "how long can a virus remain infectious outside its host ?"
It is the spirit I answered your question. It depends on the environment where it landed (in solution in the fridge, or in a droplet of sneeze on a wall in full sun) and the virus it self. There is no single simple answer to the question. It varies from minutes (rabies virus exposed to light and air for example) to days.
Patrick

Science has proof without any certainty. Creationists have certainty without
any proof. (Ashley Montague)
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Re:

Postby Dougalbod » Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:32 pm

MrMistery wrote:no, and they're not referred as dead.

@darwin420, and everyone else too
Remember that living and non-living are just words, they don't impact nature at all. if you consider viruses as non-living or a different type of life, they're still the same thing. These are human conventions, so by all means consider them whatever they want. But remember that this whole living-nonliving stuff is just philosophical BS, not science, and therefore does not make any difference.


I wholeheartedly agree with you here, some people would say the viruses are alive some would say they are not. It doesn't really matter.

Refering to the original question, perhaps it would be better to ask how long can a virus maintain it's ability to infect a host cell and I guess that the answer is it depends on the type of virus and environmental conditions.
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Re: How long do a virus live?

Postby biologia » Wed Oct 21, 2009 6:33 pm

Viruses are not "alive" because they do not exhibit the characteristics of life. For example, they are not made up of cells and cannot replicate themselves without entering the cells of another organism. I think the question(s) you meant to ask was how long can viruses exist a nonliving surface? or what is the duration in which a virus can infect a cell? Both depend. For example HIV can exist on a nonliving surface for up to seven days but once the host is infected the virus becomes a permanent part of the DNA sequence of the host, replicating again and again until the host dies.
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Postby choozi » Sat Oct 24, 2009 3:53 pm

Every living organism do not have every thing. It may take the things that it needs from nature or you can say its environment, just as we take food or carbohydrates( living source) or oxygen and many other things that we take up from environment to build up our body. Similarly virus takes the control of its host and use host's material to build up other viruses or replicate itself. Then why we don allow virus that we do by ourselves? Shouldn't it be called as living? It only uses material from its environment for its survival.
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Postby mith » Sat Oct 24, 2009 7:38 pm

Look, the word and the concept is just a category we as humans invented. We define the boundaries of the definition and to avoid confusion, we agreed to abide by a consensus definition. It's like, why is a tomato a fruit? It's because we defined fruits to be such and such. Beyond our own definition, there's nothing intrinsically fruity about a tomato.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
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