What Are Viruses?

Posted on December 7, 2005  Comments (3)

What Are Viruses?, from the excellent Science In Action blog:

Viruses are small, from about 20 nanometers to about 400 nanometers in size. (A bacterial cell is generally in the range of 0.5 to 5.0 micrometers in size. A micrometer is one thousand times bigger than a nanometer, so bacteria are hundreds of times larger than viruses.)

Viruses cannot be killed by antibiotics. Antibiotics kill or stop the growth of bacteria, not viruses. Using antibiotics to try to control viral diseases like colds and flu just hastens the day those antibiotics will be useless against dangerous bacteria, because exposing populations of bacteria to antibiotics gives them a chance to evolve defenses against the drugs.

3 Responses to “What Are Viruses?”

  1. CuriousCat: Reducing the Impact of a Flu Pandemic
    June 5th, 2007 @ 8:39 am

    The findings strongly suggest that influenza emergency plans should include measures to reduce social contact, such as encouraging people to work from home and avoid large gatherings

  2. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » 20 Things You Didn’t Know About Snow
    January 20th, 2008 @ 9:26 am

    1 Snow is a mineral, just like diamonds and salt
    5 At the center of almost every snow crystal is a tiny mote of dust, which can be anything from volcanic ash to a particle from outer space

  3. CuriousCat: Science Explained: What The Heck is a Virus?
    February 17th, 2008 @ 5:42 pm

    “A virus is not strictly alive.. nor is it strictly dead”¦ A virus has some fundamental information (genes made of DNA or RNA) which allows it to make copies of itself. However, the virus must be inside a living cell of some kind before the information can be used…”

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