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HIV Quantification

Viruses

Definition

Viruses are small biological infectious particles that can infect other biological organisms, and replicate only inside living cells [1]. They can only reproduce by invading and using host-cell machinery. Viruses infect most organisms, including animals, plants, and bacteria. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus [2], meaning that its genetic material is in the form of RNA. To reproduce, it incorporates its genetic material into specific host cell’s genome. To do this, the viral RNA must be reverse transcribed by a viral-encoded enzyme into DNA. HIV is the cause of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) in humans [3].

Overview

The term “virus” was coined by Martinus Beijerinck in 1898, following his work on the discovery of the tobacco mosaic virus. There are estimated to be 1031 viruses existing on Earth, most of which are bacteriophages. It is estimated that 5,000 viral genotypes are present in just 200 L of seawater. Of