Survival is the most fundamental function of any living organism. So please, be a little empathetic towards your earthly neighbor, the virus. The invisible virus only wishes to meet an awesome host, who will assist them in the reproduction of their offspring.

Fortunately for us humans, empathy only requires us to understand a cause, not agree with it. By better understanding any cause, we are a lot more mentally equipped to engage our opponents and achieve victory. The cause of the virus, like any other living organism, is to survive and, of course, reproduce. The only way for the parasitic virus to survive is to find a host and initiate a replication process. There are two ways this happens: One way is the lytic cycle, and the other is the lysogenic cycle.

Lytic cycle

The lytic cycle is where the virus either inserts its RNA/DNA or itself into the cell/ host.

The stealthy virus coaxes the cell into using its resources to replicate the virus. Once inundated with these seemingly hostile tenants, the cell explodes. This cataclysmic event, (at least for the cell) destroys the cell membrane, kills the cell, and releases the newborns to roam freely, and acquire more hosts.

Lysogenic cycle

The lysogenic cycle is a little different. The virus quickly finds its host cell and inserts its RNA/DNA. The cell proceeds as normal, appearing oblivious to the change in its anatomical structure. It only gets worse when cell division/reproduction occurs, because all cells created by an infected cell will also be infected. At a certain point, the lysogenic process turns into the lytic process, and this is when our bodies most feel the impact. We become ill as our bodies fight the now identifiable, foreign invader.

A virus can attach to any living host that has biochemical processes. All bacteria cells must go through the biochemical process, so a microscopic bacteria cell can be identified as a host by a virus.

History’s most deadly viruses

The names of various diseases caused by viruses
The names of various diseases caused by viruses

The title of the “ most perilous virus” definitely goes to The Marburg virus. With a 90 percent mortality rate, this virus causes hemorrhagic fever, convulsions, bleeding of mucous membranes, skin, and organs. The second-place winner in this division is the Ebola virus. The symptoms of exposure to this virus are similar to the Marburg virus.

Both viruses belong to the family Filoviridae, and both viruses produce mRNA or messenger ribonucleic acid. These two have more similarities than differences. The primary difference is the obvious one. The Ebola virus leads to the Ebola disease, and the Marburg virus leads to the Marburg disease.

Number three on this list has multiple opinions as to which virus is the most virulent. This argument probably stems from the multiple definitions of the word “deadly” and “dangerous”. Some authors may use the term, as it relates to the fatality percentage of the virus. Others may look at how many lives the virus has claimed while we’ve been aware of its presence. The use of the term “deadly” in this documentation is surely attributed to the mortality rate of the virus. A virus with a high mortality rate almost always kills off its host before the host can have contact with a substantial amount of people.

What makes this coronavirus different?

Picture of red viruses
Picture of red viruses

Ebola and Marburg viruses immobilize their prospective host, making it extremely difficult for a pandemic to occur. The COVID-19 coronavirus mutation discovered on December 29th, 2019, is allowing many of its hosts to roam about, oblivious to their new attachment, at least for the first couple of days. This allows COVID-19 to acquire more and more hosts, while many of them show none or very few symptoms.

As of April 27th, 2020, 16:41 Greenwich meantime, there are 3,025,732 recorded cases and 209,001 deaths from COVID-19. Still standing strong, 893,196 of us have defeated the virus, bringing us closer to placing the unwelcome guest under complete control. The more we learn, the more we grow.

This isn’t the first time we’ve had to battle with a zoonotic competitor. Zoonotic means that another species of animal other than humans is where the virus genetically originated from. The MERS epidemic of 2012 and the SARS epidemic of 2003 were both zoonotic coronaviruses.

How does it work?

COVID-19 has single-stranded messenger ribonucleic acid for its telegram, and delivery via a protective protein shell called a capsid is how this transmission is delivered. The current consensus amongst the scientific community is that the virus stays in the lysogenic cycle 3 to 5 days before you begin to feel ill. There are reports of the virus remaining in the lysogenic cycle for fourteen days before phasing into the lytic cycle. It’s safe to advise everyone to adopt some very effective habits of cleanliness.

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We’re all in this together

Woman wearing a face mask
Woman wearing a face mask

The fight against our microscopic neighbor continues. Loaning our bodies out to other species of life just isn’t something that humans agree with, especially when it’s so discomforting. COVID-19 may have selected a battle too mighty for the virus species. An earthly lockdown has demanded the attention of every human mind to oppose one common problem. That’s a lot of energy to clash with. One advantage that remains in the resources of our human arsenal is our contact restriction with the virus. We have all the necessities needed to avoid contact with viruses. It may be irritating washing your hands every five seconds, and remaining in perpetual cover, but at least we’re equipped with protective capabilities. May we all endeavor for perfection!

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How have you adapted to the Covid-19 pandemic? Let us know down in the comments.

This article originally published on GREY Journal.