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Word Count: 1,133
The composition of a virus is relatively simple and its size is extremely small It cannot even properly be called an organism because it is unable to carry on life processes outside a living cell of an animal plant or bacteria Yet its method of entering and enslaving a living cell is so ingenious that the virus is humankinds deadliest enemy and resists the most advanced efforts of modern science to eliminate it Millions of people throughout the world suffer each year from viral diseases such as polio measles chicken pox mumps acquired immunodeficiency syndrome AIDS and the common cold Viruses also produce such illnesses as foot-and-mouth disease in livestock distemper in dogs panleukopenia in cats and hog cholera The viruses that infect bacteria are called bacteriophages Outside of a living cell a virus is a dormant particle It exhibits none of the characteristics generally associated with lifenamely reproduction and metabolic processes such as growth and assimilation of food Unlike bacteria and other microorganisms viruses remain dormant in body fluids Thus great numbers of viruses may be present in a body nad yet and not produce a disease because they have not invaded the bodys cells Once inside a host cell however the virus becomes an active entity capable of taking over the infected cells metabolic machinery The cellular metabolism becomes so altered that it helps to produce thousands of new The viruss developmental cycle begins when it succeeds in introducing its nucleic acid and in some cases its protein coat into a host cell Bacteriophages attach to the surface of the bacterium and then penetrate the rigid cell wall transmitting the viral nucleic acid into the host Animal viruses enter host cells by a process called endocytosis Plant viruses enter through wounds in the cells outer coveringsthrough abrasions made by wind for example or through punctures made by insects Once inside the host cell the viruss
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