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What is a virus?
A virus is a tiny infectious agent that is not considered a living organism because it cannot replicate or carry out metabolic processes on its own. It relies on host cells to reproduce and cause disease. Viruses have genetic material, usually DNA or RNA, enclosed in a protein coat called a capsid. Some viruses also have an outer envelope made of lipids that help them infect host cells. They can infect a wide range of organisms, from humans and animals to plants and bacteria.
What are the biotech applications of viruses?
In biotechnology, viruses are used as tools for delivering genetic material into cells, a technique known as viral vector gene therapy. This approach has been successful in treating genetic disorders, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and neurodegenerative disorders. Some viruses are also used to create vaccines, like the COVID-19 vaccines, by using a harmless version of the virus to stimulate an immune response. Viruses can also be used in diagnostic tests and as a tool to study gene expression and regulation.
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