Lv 6
David asked in Science & MathematicsBiology · 8 years ago

Do you consider viruses to be alive?

7 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I don't think there's a yes/no answer to this question. On one hand they can't do much on their own but neither are they dead since under common circumstances they can reproduce with alarming frequency. Even in zombie movies I don't see the dead reproducing. A virus may need a host but it can reproduce.

    I have two round objects on a shelf in front of me. One is a seed the other is a cotton ball. Both are inert yet one will, under the right conditions, reproduce. They're both organic as well.As your link proves even virologists can't decide.

    I'm going with both alive and not alive/dead.

  • 4 years ago


    Source(s): Perfect Antivirus Protection Suite : http://moveantivirus.com/?YDZv
  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    The textbook definition of life is characterised by 7 processes; movement, respiration, sensation, nutrition, excretion, reproduction and growth. Since viruses carry out hardly any of these processes i think it is difficult to classify them as living. There are of course organisms that prove to be exceptions to the list - lacking one or two of the requirements but i think that an organism that cannot reproduce using its own machinery is not alive. Viruses are subject to evolution, which has nor foresight or hindsight. It will naturally pick the sequence of bases in the viral genome that is most beneficial to the survival of the virus - in this respect, viruses do evolve and develop and it would be easy to personify this as the virus 'thinking' and calculating the best possible decisions. Evolution does not work like this! it is inanimate and for this reason i do not believe viruses are alive.

    Source(s): Bsc Biomedical Sciences, University of Southampton
  • BP
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    Yes I do, even though some ridiculous arguments have been made by some other scientists who obviously have nothing better to do, that viruses are not alive because they don't have all the same things a cell does...

    I say they are, because they can reproduce themselves.

    Another thought, If they discovered a virus on Mars, I bet those same scientists who want to call viruses "not living" would be itching to call a Mars virus "alive"

    Source(s): bp, a molecular biologist
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  • 8 years ago

    Most Micro Organism are considered alive, but Viruses are generally not I believe because they need to be sheltered in another cell as in a human cell to 'live'

  • 8 years ago

    Viruses are not considered to be alive. They're parasites and thrive off of the cells of other organisms. That's why you can't treat certain sicknesses that are viruses, like the common cold, because in order to kill them, you would have to attack the body cells they're mooching off of with antibodies.

    You can fight a sickness caused by bacteria with antibodies because bacteria are living cells, but you cant fight virus the same way because they are not 'self-sufficient', so to speak.

    I hope this answers your question! :D

  • Ewan
    Lv 4
    8 years ago

    Yea they're alive, but they don't have independent thought, free will, consciousness or what a 'soul'

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