What is a complex virus?


As their name suggests, complex viruses are composed of complex and varied combinations of structures, which may differ among individuals of the same species. According to the University of South Carolina, School of Medicine, complex viruses are one of the five basic structural forms that viruses can take. Examples of complex viruses include poxviruses, such as monkey pox, cowpox and chicken pox.

Viruses are highly unusual entities; scientists do not even universally agree whether or not they should be classified as “living” or “organisms.” Accordingly, scientists classify them in different ways than they classify plants, bacteria or animals. A number of different traits are considered when classifying them. According to the University of Ohio at Mansfield, these can including the virus’s host preference, target cell or gross morphology. The term “complex virus” refers to one type of gross morphology exhibited by viruses. The other forms that viruses commonly take include naked icosahedral, naked helical, enveloped icosahedral and enveloped helical.

Viruses are only capable of replicating inside the cells of a host organism. Viruses are very diverse, and they have saturated their niche. Most organisms on the planet, including microscopic, single celled organisms, have viruses that live exclusively in their cells.

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