Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

When does a virus die ?

  1. Jun 4, 2005 #1
    I heard that virus attacks our body, but when does a virus die ?
    E.g a HIV, do you know when it deis ? when is a white cell able to eat it ? or none of hiv's are eaten by any white cells ????
    Thanku :wink:
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 4, 2005 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

  4. Jun 4, 2005 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    A virus is not a prion. A prion is a protein, a virus is a collection of proteins with nucleic acid carrying genetic material.
  5. Jun 6, 2005 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Viruses "die" (become inactivated....destroyed...whatever) when they are damaged enough such that they can no longer reproduce...whether it be through a white blood cell, chemical oxidation, UV light damage...whatever. The thing with HIV is that it attacks the body's immune system (rather than trying to hide from it/outpace it while attacking some other cells in the body).
  6. Jun 6, 2005 #5
    Sorry for chiming in not at a right time, can somone tell me when will an HIV cell die ? :wink:
  7. Jun 6, 2005 #6
    it dies when it is damaged enough :wink:
  8. Jun 6, 2005 #7
    what exactly is an "HIV cell"? Do you mean a cell that has been infected with HIV?
  9. Jun 6, 2005 #8
    It is not incorrect at all.
  10. Jun 8, 2005 #9
    So lets say a person with HIV bleeds all over the shopping mall floor. Someone wipes it up and cleans it with disinfectant, but the virus will still remain on the floor. Of course, the virus is inactive without a host to propagate in. Some unfortunate kid runs around and falls down, scraping his knee right where the HIV virus is. Will the kid get HIV?

    How long will HIV stay for in a potentially active state when left alone with no host?
  11. Jun 8, 2005 #10
    I haven't heard of a virus lasting more than a day (as extreme cases) (something I read on Hep A/Hep C) without a host in non-ideal/everyday conditions. I read an article on HIV that stated it wouldn't last more than 20 minutes outside of host. I could be wrong, and there are definately people with more information on the topic, but from what I have read, it doesn't last longer than that.

    But if the blood was cleaned up, it is extremely unlikely that any transmission of HIV occurring.
  12. Jun 8, 2005 #11
    The CDC says that Hepatitis B can survive more than a week outside of the body:


    I would not be surprised at all if there are viruses that can survive substantially longer. Afterall, we can consider viruses for all intents and purposes to be a big protein (ignoring the nucleic acids protected inside), and proteins can remain in a stable subunit configuration for a LONG time, especially if they were "meant" to be that way as most virus envelopes are.

    Also, this is assuming the virus particles will be subject to UV radiation, heat, etc. If you take a virus, blot it on something like paper, put it in a plastic protector, it would last nearly indefinately.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook