Living virus?

Stefanie Greve S.Greve at tu-bs.de
Mon Aug 31 16:42:53 EST 1998


ow that virus is not a living organism, but is it still normal to
> > > refer to a functionable virus as "living"?
> > >
> > > The reason for this question is some quotas I've read in newspapers.
> > > It's about the danger of finding intact and active virus in a 80 year
> > > old grave containing corpses who died of a disease caused by this virus.
> > >
> > > Commenting on this risk, many scientists referred to such viruses as
> > > "living". It struck me as strange to call a biological robot as being
> > > alive, just as strange as calling my car living when it's not broken, or
> > >
> > > my computer living when it's not crashed.
> > >
> > > Sincerely,
> > > Trond Erik Vee Aune
> > As you wrote you read it in a newspaper and not in ascientific journal.
> > Most quotes are not as accurate as they should be, I am afraid.
> 
> Thanks for your response.
> 
> In other words it isn't customary for scientists of biology to refer to
> functionable virus as "living"?
> 
> Trond Erik Vee Aune

Hello, TRond ERik!

In fact, until now I have never come across any biologist calling a
virus living or alive. There are only a few students I have heard do so,
only to be rigorously corrected by senior scientists. So I would not
regard it customary calling a virus living. The common term in
Brauschweig - I don`t know what you call it elsewhere - is
active/inactive. You are not a biologist, are you?

Greetings

Stefanie



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