A virus is defined as any of a various number of submicroscopic parasites that can infect any animal, plant or bacteria and often lead to very serious or even deadly diseases. A virus consists of a core of RNA or DNA, generally surrounded by a protein, lipid or glycoprotein coat, or some combination of the three. No virus can replicate without the help of a host cell, and though they can be spread, viruses lack the ability of self-reproduction and are not always considered to be living organisms in the regular sense. Some of the most common or best known viruses include the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which is the virus that causes AIDS, the herpes simplex virus, which causes cold sores, smallpox, multiple sclerosis, and the human papilloma virus, now believed to be a leading cause of cervical cancer in adult women. The common human cold is also caused by a virus. Since a great deal of mystery still surrounds the origins of most modern viruses, ways to cure these viruses and the diseases they cause are still in the very early stages of development.
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Why Bats Carrying Deadly Diseases Don't Get Sick
Gambian Fruit Bat
April 16th, 2014
Bats' ability to fly may protect the organisms from becoming ill with a range of viruses known to be deadly to humans, including Ebola and rabies, according to a new hypothesis.
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Giant Virus Resurrected from Permafrost After 30,000 Years
pithovirus section
March 3rd, 2014
A mysterious giant virus that had never been identified before was uncovered after lurking deep in permafrost in Siberia for 30,000 years.
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Explainer: What is a Virus?
virus, definition, life
February 11th, 2014
It may seem like a fairly fundamental question, but there is still debate over whether viruses should be considered a form of life.
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Ancient Viruses Sound Scary, but There's No Need to Panic (Op-Ed)
viruses, ancient virus, germs
April 7th, 2014
The researchers raised concerns that drilling in the permafrost may expose us to many more pathogenic viruses. Should we be worried about being infected from the past? Can human viruses survive in this permafrost environment and come back to wreak havoc?
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New MERS Virus Widespread in Camels
Camelus dromedarius at the Singapore Zoo
February 25th, 2014
The majority of camels in Saudi Arabia have been infected with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus, and the virus has been circulating among the animals for at least 20 years, new study finds.
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Rules Make Vaccine Exemptions for Kids Harder to Get
a person getting a vaccine
February 11th, 2014
In recent years, several states have passed bills that make it harder for children to gain exemptions from getting the vaccinations schools usually require, and ethicists say this trend is a good one.
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Can You Catch Obesity With That Head Cold?
December 13th, 2013
A virus may be making some people gain weight.
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Ebola Outbreak Spreading in Africa
March 22nd, 2014
An Ebola outbreak in Guinea has killed at least 34 people and sickened 49, and some are worried it may have spread to neighboring Sierra Leone.
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Why Some Rich, Educated Parents Avoid Vaccines
February 21st, 2014
Health officials are warning that vaccination rates are dropping in many areas. In a worrisome trend, it's the college-educated residents of affluent areas like Malibu, Calif., and Boulder, Colo., who are skipping vaccinations.
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Bob Costas Takes a Break: Why Pink Eye Is So Contagious
February 11th, 2014
NBC anchor Bob Costas will take a night off from hosting the networks' Olympics broadcast because of an infection that spread to both his eyes. The news might have you wondering: Why is pink eye so contagious?
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