What does a virus actually do ?


Many viruses or bacterial infections mostly have symptoms that are actually defense mechanisms of our own body, like fever, coughing, sneezing and a running nose.

What does the virus itself do ? what symptoms would it cause if the body didnt fight it?

and if all of these mechanisms are meant to fight the virus, why is it safe/recommended to use drugs that fight your these defense mechanisms, like drugs to lower your fever, alleviate your cough/runny nose etc ?

In: 6

Viruses simply have one goal in ‘life’ – spread and make more. It’s the same as any other living being. However, viruses technically are not alive, and are just a shell with RNA. RNA is DNA, but with slight changes, mainly making it a virus, not a single celled being. The virus takes control of cells and rewrites the cells instructions to, rather than remake the cell, to remake the virus. An example is you get a scratch, and the object you got scratched on has a virus on it. The skin cells now infected with the virus is ‘reprogrammed’ and they create more viruses. When these cells fill up with viruses, they explode, infecting many more cells. Millions of cells can quite quickly get infected, and the only way your body can stop this, is kill the infected cells. Now we can get to answering your question. If your body did not have an immune response, you would lose cells until there are no cells left or all that are left cannot replicate.

Each virus is different so it’s hard to actually answer your question completely. Here are some examples, but understand that there’re so many viruses out there and I haven’t seen it all.

In general, viruses invade your cells and replicate. Sometimes they replicate so much, they overcrowd your cell and the cell explodes spreading all those viruses to the rest of your body and causing more cells to explode and that’s not good.

Sometimes they can leave your cell without it exploding, but matter cannot be created or destroyed. Creating all those viruses takes up resources your body needs and that’s not good.

Sometimes in order to replicate, they need to insert their dna into your dna, which may interrupt valuable processes. This can cause a host of other problems such as cancer and that’s not good.

Sometimes they really don’t do anything bad at all. You might not even notice you got a virus. But it’s there and sometimes it can interact with other diseases and disorders and exacerbate the situation.

As for why we use drugs, it’s definitely a tough call. It’s not like doctors identify a problem and immediately throw drugs at it like a programmed script. They examine the situation and the patient and determine whether or not they should use a drug.

Keep in mind people *do* die from fevers. When your body gets that hot, the things that make your body work literally start unraveling. We may have come from millions of years of evolution, but that does not mean we are perfect. We still have millions of years to go. Our bodies are works in progress that will never be finished. And in the meantime, we need drugs to solve the problems that arise.