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Poisonous and Infectous

  1. Sep 9, 2006 #1
    I need to clear this up: the difference between poisonous and infectous. Apparently infectious agents are living organisms like viruses and bacteria, while poisonous substances are, well, poisonous. But can't viruses be poisonous?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 10, 2006 #2
    I'm not a biologist or a biochemist but infectious agents take over and destroy cells. They also replicate within the body, poisons don't. Poisons are just chemicals, infectious agents are actualy organisms. Stuff like cyanide kills you by interfering with the electron transport chain of the TCA cycle. poisons also work by inhibiting certain enzymes in the body which stops certain biochemical pathways. viruses are more of a disease than a poison.
  4. Sep 12, 2006 #3
    Yeah, OK, but can viruses produce poisons?
  5. Sep 19, 2006 #4
    no - virus molcules are like machines - they replicate by taking over the host machinery - they PRODUCE nothing - damage and consequences of viral replication can cause the release of toxins (the contents of cells are dispersed and cause inflamation by chemotaxis) when the cells they are replicating in rupture. Viruses make nothing - they cause the host to make more of the virus - either directly or by causing the host to make dna to make more of the virus - like hiv
  6. Sep 20, 2006 #5
    Infections are caused by both viruses and bacteria, and yes they can sometimes produce toxins, such as Botox...I mean botulinum toxin
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