www.whyville.net Jan 2, 2004 Weekly Issue

Science Writer


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Hey guys, this is hottiemb with a new science article on viruses!

Now, everybody has to have had some kind of virus at least once in your life -- but why can't we just take medicine to kill the viruses and make our sicknesses go away?

Scientist are trying all the time to cure different kinds of viruses. It is so hard because as soon as you make a medicine to cure the virus, it changes it shape and protein coat so the medicine doesn't work anymore. It's kind of like a CSI investigation. The police, or the medicine, are looking for the robber, or the virus, who is wearing a red sweater. But what if the robber takes off the red sweater and wears a blue one? Then the police don't know it's him and they walk right by him!

Although there are some drugs that may help you feel better, there is nothing that can kill a virus, from what I understand.

Well, if there is nothing that can kill a virus, then how does it die and how do I become better?

Viruses never die! They just go dormant in your body. When a virus goes dormant, it's sleeping and not active. Just because a virus is dormant in your body doesn't mean it can't spread, however. If a virus is dormant in your body that doesn't mean it is going to be dormant in someone else's body. If you have an air borne virus, that is dormant in your body and you breath on someone, they could get the virus and it could be active in their body.

Viruses do not carry on any of the life processes but they can reproduce with a host cell. Without a host cell, viruses are harmless. Viruses contain nucleic acid. When a virus gets into your body, the nucleic acid in the virus takes over one of your cells and forces the cell to make copies of the virus. The virus, to put it in other words, takes the cell hostage.

How do shots, such as the flu shot, help keep the virus out of your system?

When you get a virus once, you most likely won't get it again for a while. This is how flu shots work. Flu shots are week versions of the virus. So actually, flu shots give you the flu! They give you such a week version of the flu, however, that you will just get a little sick instead of catching the virus and being real sick.

That will conclude my article and I hope you have enjoyed reading it!

This is hottiemb signing off.

Editor's Note: That's a REALLY good explanation of viruses, hottiemb! Next time, just remember to include your sources so we can be sure you wrote it yourself, and so anyone who wants to learn more knows where to start! :-)


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