Are Viruses Living?

Craig Marshall craigm at
Wed Apr 19 17:42:06 EST 1995

This seems to be a question with no answer. I would argue that there is
some essential difference between the life of say, a bacterium and that
of a virus. Viruses have the property of replication under very
specific cirmcumstances (ie within a host cell) but I believe there
some chemicals are capable of similar activity (but I can give no
references for this claim). The property of replication is not
equivalent to life in the sense that a bacterium (or whatever) is

As a previous poster suggested, viruses should be considered viruses
because they are viruses.

Craig Marshall    Department of Biochemistry, University of Otago
                  Dunedin, New Zealand

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