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Properties of Viruses

Viruses are ubiquitous and majorly affect biological life. They are ultramicroscopic, with sizes ranging from 20-1000 nm in diameter (Payne, 2017). Viruses do not autonomously fulfill life characteristics. The basic viral structure has a capsid surrounding the nucleic acid (Payne, 2017). Viruses have RNA or DNA as their genetic material (Payne, 2017). Besides, viruses reproduce by controlling the host’s genetic material and lack enzymes for most of their metabolic processes (Payne, 2017). They are accelular with no organelles. In addition, viruses are obligate parasites that enter the host cells and take over their machinery to reproduce. After entering the host cell, they localize to an intracellular milieu; they shed their capsid and translate their viral RNA, which is then translated into proteins (Payne, 2017). The following steps involve replicating the viral genome, assembly of viral components, and exit from the host cell (Payne, 2017).

After contact with a CD4 cell, the gp120 spikes on the HIV’s surface attach to the CD4 receptor and either CXCR4 or CCR5 co-receptors (Hinkle & Cheever, 2017). The gp42 protein then fuses the HIV envelope with the host’s cell wall (Hinkle & Cheever, 2017). This fusion allows the entry of viral capsid to the CD4 cell for viral replication. Consequently, HIV attacks the body’s immune system. It destroys the CD4 helper cells, making it harder for the host to fight infections (Hinkle & Cheever, 2017). This leaves an individual susceptible to opportunistic infections. There is no vaccine for prevention or cure for HIV/AIDs. Prevention treatments include using pre-exposure prophylaxis antiviral agents, condoms during sex, and post-exposure prophylaxis (Hinkle & Cheever, 2017). Nevertheless, medications can be given to reduce viral infection (Schwetz & Fauci, 2018). These medications are known as antiviral medications and include Tenofovir and Lamivudine.


Hinkle, J. L., & Cheever, K. H. (2017). Brunner & Suddarth’s textbook of medical-surgical nursing (14th ed.). LWW.

Schwetz, T. A., & Fauci, A. S. (2018). The extended impact of human immunodeficiency virus/AIDS research. The Journal of Infectious Diseases219(1), 6-9.

Payne S. (2017). Introduction to Animal Viruses. Viruses, 1–11.


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Discuss why viruses are more difficult to treat than bacteria and how they affect our bodies.

Identify properties of viruses, characteristics, viral nucleic acids, and life cycle of animal viruses. (You can help answer this question by reading the PowerPoint in the Modules here in Canvas, Chapter 5, Viral Structures and multiplication, pages 8-10, 14, 18, 20, 21, 26, 27, 41-44.)
Pick one virus ( HIV, COVID-19, Influenza, Herpes, Smallpox, Rotavirus, or any other you may have heard of) and research that virus: characteristics, how it enters the human body, and how it affects the human body and if it is any prevention and treatment for it.
When doing research online, search for more than one source and write the reference of your sources in your work.

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