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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Is Collapse of U.S. Social Ties Driving Anti-Vaccine Movement?
Boy getting vaccinated
July 30th, 2015
Vaccines have been used safely and effectively for decades. So why is the American public – or at least a significant segment of it – now increasingly skeptical of mandatory school vaccinations?
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Viruses Could Help Fight Deadly Superbugs
An artist's depiction of a phage injecting its genetic material into a bacterium.
May 18th, 2015
Viruses could be used in the fight against the deadly scourge of bacteria that can't be treated with antibiotics, researchers say.
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Virus-Crafted Metal Nano-Sponges Boost Boiling
Drexel University lab's virus-templated nickel nanostructures
March 26th, 2015
A watched pot may never boil, but a watched pot coated in these super-sponge nanostructures might.
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'Leaky' Vaccines May Fuel Evolution of Deadlier Viruses
July 29th, 2015
Certain types of vaccines, that allow vaccinated individuals to spread disease, could lead to deadlier viruses, new evidence in chickens shows.
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Have a Cold? Don't Ask Your Doctor for Antibiotics
Woman sick on the couch
November 26th, 2014
Studies show that physicians often write prescriptions based on their beliefs about what patients expect.
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New Squirrel Virus Strain Suspected in Deaths of 3 in Germany
A variegated squirrel climbs in a tree
July 8th, 2015
Three people in Germany who worked as squirrel breeders and who all died from brain inflammation may have contracted a new strain of virus from their squirrels, according to a new report of the cases.
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Nanoscale Super-Sponges Boost Boiling (Gallery)
Fast and hot surface
March 26th, 2015
Using a scaffolding built from tobacco viruses, engineers have created a super-efficient nanoscale sponge.
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It's Time to Fix Outdated Vaccine Trials
Ebola vaccine trials
February 27th, 2015
Research in humans is a crucial part of our medical system. We need to be able to test that vaccines and drugs are safe and effective in people before they are released to the general public.
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