Well, we all know that books are non-living. And your pet dog is living. But what about viruses? Are they living? Some experts say that viruses exist on the borderline between the living and non-living. Most of the times viruses are called ‘neither alive, nor dead’.


According to biologists, they are the simplest form of life. And they are microscopic particle that can infect the cells of a biological organism. Ultimately, viruses are responsible for many human diseases including influenza, AIDS and the recent Coronavirus or Covid-19.

How do viruses infect?

Since, they are neither alive nor dead, they can only get active when they find a host. After that the start replicating or multiplying.

What is their formation?  Viruses consist of genetic material contained within a protective protein coat called a capsid. This protein coat of virus is then wrapped in a second outer coat, a lipid membrane. Lipids are a family of organic compounds, composed of fats and oils. (Can you now relate why all of us are asked to wash our hands again and again? In simple words – To wash this fat covering from the virus coating!)

Since lipid bilayers are easily dissolved by detergents. Lipids (fats/oils) covering viruses are readily inactivated by soaps and detergents.

The study of viruses is known as virology, and the experts who study viruses are known as virologists. For long, it has been argued extensively whether viruses are living organisms. Most virologists consider them non-living. Because viruses do not meet all the criteria of the generally accepted definition of life.

Examples of common human diseases caused by viruses include the common cold, the flu, chickenpox and cold sores. Serious diseases such as Ebola, AIDS, bird flu and SARS are all also caused by viruses.


  • According to current evidence, COVID-19 virus is primarily transmitted between people through respiratory droplets and contact routes.
  • Droplet transmission occurs when a person is in in close contact (within 1 m) with someone who has respiratory symptoms (e.g., coughing or sneezing) and is therefore at risk of having his/her mucosae (mouth and nose) or conjunctiva (eyes) exposed to potentially infective respiratory droplets. ( *as per WHO)
  • According to current evidence, COVID-19 virus is primarily transmitted between people through respiratory droplets and contact routes.
  • A recent research published in Nature says that people with coronavirus may be most infectious in the first week of symptoms.
  • The study checked patients with ‘relatively mild’ coronavirus symptoms. The viral load in samples from throat and lung swabs, sputum (coughed-up saliva and mucus), stool, blood, and urine were checked.
  • The finding? They found covid-19 was replicating in the throat. The concentrations of the virus peaked during the first five days after symptoms started—although it was still possible to detect it after symptoms stopped.

Let’s all follow the 100% lockdown period and win the covid war. Stay home, stay safe.