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Difference between Biological and Computer virus

Interesting features and differences between Biological and Computer Viruses

Biological Viruses (or Human Viruses) are Nanotechnology by Nature while computer viruses are infectious agent by made by humans. Most often the people think Biological viruses and Computer viruses as a same entity, although both cause infection and damage to their host (or target) and some of their features & characteristics are same but they are quite different from each other. Following table enlists some interesting main difference between Biological Virus and Computer Viruses


1. Living – non living

Biological Virus
Biological viruses are living (at least to some extent) biological entity who can reproduce itself

Computer Virus
Computer viruses are non – living at all, they are manmade malicious computer coding which are programmed to perform specific functions

2. Host

Biological Virus
They are living, thus infects living things. Biological Viruses can infect all form of life including Human, Animals, Plants, Insects, Bacteria, Protozoa, Fungi, Archae and other viruses (Yes, there are some viriophage exist)

Computer Virus
They are programmed, thus made impact on programs (softwares) Computer viruses infect mostly PCs, Servers, websites and software. Computer viruses mostly targets PCs with MS windows Operating system and rarely other Operating System.

3. History

Biological Virus
The history of Biological virus’s evolution is dated back where the Life begins; they are as old as bacteria (about 2.5 billion year). The first written and proven case of viral infection is depicted on 3700 B.C old ancient painting which shows the case of poliomyelitis.

Computer Virus
The first computer virus was “Creepy” virus which is written (coded) in 1971 by Bob Thomas. This virus remotely spread and copied itself, just show the message “I am creepy, catch me if you can”.

4. Components

Biological Virus
As a biological entity or living organism, Biological virus contain genetic material (in the form of RNA or DNA), covered by a coat of protein (called Capsid) and sometime by a lipid Envelop

Computer Virus
A computer virus is not more than a few lines of code. It contains a script or code of programming language written in C, C++ or other assembly languages.

5. Mechanism of action

Biological Virus
Biological viruses infect their host after they enter the host body and reach inside the cell where the virus uses the host genetic material (DNA or RNA )to replicate and expend their population

Computer Virus
Computer viruses, similarly infect computers when they enter and reach the registry (or the specific components/area for which they are programmed) where they cause the damage (usually hiding or disabling some files or functions) 

6. Types

Biological Virus
Classify by many ways, mostly by the body system which the biological virus infect. Their types include Neuroviruses, Enteroviruses, Rhino viruses, Respiratory viruses, etc.

Structurally their classification include RNA viruses and DNA viruses


Computer Virus
Classify by the components or subsystem of the host which they infects. Their types includes, system viruses, Macro viruses (infect application e.g.MS Word, MS Outlook) and Boot sector viruses (which target Master Boot Record).

Programmatically their types include .exe viruses, .COM viruses or  a batch files (.bat) virus

7. Hazards

Biological Virus
They causes severe damage to the organ or system they involved which may be reversible (as in case of Hepatitis A, Flu) or lifelong irreversible (i.e. Poliomyelitis, Rabies or Hepatitis C viruses)

Computer Virus
They causes damage to the system or component of the PC which they infect and can result in burden on system memory, system crush and permanent lost of a document or a file or other data.

8. Benefits

Biological Virus
Biological viruses to some extent, are helpful and beneficial in the sense that they are being used in gene therapy to introduce therapeutic genetic material to the diseased cell (e.g. in case of cancer)

Computer Virus
Computer viruses, till to date, has no any beneficial role. They always cause damage and lost to the system am data.

9. Prevention

Biological Virus
Biological viruses are preventable by getting vaccinated against them. Vaccines (or even some viruses) help our boy to develop immunity against the occurrence or re-occurrence of the same disease again.

Computer Virus
Well, there is no such scenario in case of computer viruses, even with having a powerful Antivirus or fire wall on your system, your system may still got infected, as the developer continually write the malicious code and it across networks to get their job done.

10. Treatment

Biological Virus
Biological viruses can be treated to some extent with Antiviral drugs e.g. Acyclovir or you can get symptomatic treatment against them.

Computer Virus
Computer viruses can be detect and remove with the help of Antivirus. But still it is unpredictable how much damage they can left or made to the system and some time you need to re-install the operating system

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Top 10 interesting Facts about Viruses

Top 10 interesting Facts about Viruses

1.  Virus – A Nano technology

Nano Virus

Viruses are the example of nanotechnology by nature. Their size ranges between 20 nanometers (0.0002 mm) to 400 nanometers (0.0004 mm). The smaller known virus till to date is Circovirus (usually affect animal causing PCVD) and the biggest one is mimivirus (the causative agent of some form of Viral Pneumonia) which is even bigger than some smaller bacteria. There are even bigger virus discover called mamaviru.

2.  Viral Chain – Double than the Diameter of Milky Way

Virus and Milky wayThere are millions of viruses in a single drop of water, account for 1031 total viruses on the Earth. If calculated by the total number and the average size of virus (200 nanometers) all of them (lined up end to end) will stretch 108 Light years into space (2 times more than the diameter of Milky Way).

3.  Living or Dead

Virus, The Border Line between Living and non-livingViruses are neither living nor dead entity. They are among the border line of Live and dead. They don’t have their own food metabolism mechanism; they can’t produce energy by their own. But due to ability to replicate (reproduce) themselves Viruses, by some scientist, considered as living thing. Although they can’t reproduce outside the host cell


4.  Temperature Does matter for Virus

Effect of Temperature on Virus
On average, viruses live on 37 0C for seconds, for minutes on 20 0C, for hour on 10 0C for days on 0 0C and for years on temperature in minus. The hotter temperature of your body during viral infection helps immune system to get rid of viruses. On the other hand, in cold weather, you have more chances to get flu. There are still many ancient viruses living in sub freezing temperature of Antarctica.

5.  Wide Range Of Host

Host range of virus
Viruses are not only the worst enemy of human; they can infect every living organism under the Sun. The virus nature of more rapid genetic diversion enables them to parasitize all groups of Living organisms. Their range of hosts not only limited to men but include animal, plants, insects, Bacteria (infected by Bacteriophages), fungi, protozoa, amoebae their own relatives, yes there are viruses (viriophage) which infect other viruses.

6.  First written Proof of Viral Disease

Person with Poliomyelitis in Ancient drwaings
The first written evidence of a viral infection is dated back to ancient Egypt (3700 B.C), which shows a patient with typical clinical features of poliomyelitis. The first ever discovered virus is Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV) discovered by a Russian Microbiologist, Dmitry Ivanovsky in 1892. The first discovered virus causing disease in Human is Yellow Fever virus, discovered by Walter Reed in 1901. Structure of Virus was not been observed until the invention of Electron Microscope in 1931. Ernst Ruska and Max Knoll (both are Germen Engineers) were the first who observe Virus under Electron Microscope.

7.  DNA Vs. RNA Virus

Types Of Virus (RNA virus, DNA virus)
On the basis of genetic material (Ribonucleic acid), Viruses are classifying as either DNA (Double Strand Nucleic Acid) or RNA (Single Strand Nucleic Acid) viruses. Among these types, DNA viruses are stable and while replicating, they make good copies of their genetic material. This can be useful to make vaccines against them. On other hand, RNA viruses are less stable, their genetic material changes quickly due to which it’s hard to make vaccine against them or get vaccinated against the same viral infection repeatedly. (Can you guess HIV belongs to which class?)

8.  Antiviral Drugs – Pseudo Genetic Codes

Antiviral Drugs, Pseudo Genetic Code
Antiviral drugs (such as Acyclovir) are Pseudo (fake) genetic material which is perceived and adopted by viruses as their own replicated genetic martial (RNA or DNA) in cell, using which render the viruses harmless.

9.  Social History of Virus

Traces of Virus found in Ancient human Remains
Traces of Viruses found in ancient human skeleton are used by scientist as a tool or evidence to uncover pre-historic migration by human being. Scientists are tracing prehistoric migration by viruses they carry with themselves.

10.  Friendly Virus

Gene Therapy through Virus
Despite all the harmful effects of virus, there is a useful Medical use of Viruses. They are being used in gene therapy as gene delivery systems for the treatment of various inherited and acquired diseases.
Viruses are the enemy of our enemies (bacteria, Fungi, Protozoa), they helping us by killing them as well.

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