Is the virus real?

Truth about the virus

A number of diseases have been attributed to a microscopically invisible object, the virus

Robert Koch provided a series of steps required to prove that a living microbe was the cause of such disease. The main controversy is the result of misunderstanding over the distinction n between these ideas. The problem lies in the fact that Koch's postulates fail in respect to virus due to the very nature of the virus, it is not a living microbe. However, this failure to meet Koch's postulates in regards to the development and progression of illness, does not in any way prove that the virus does not exist.

As an explanation of this, I first offer Koch's postulates.

From Wikipedia:

The microorganism must be found in abundance in all organisms suffering from the disease but should not be found in healthy organisms.
The microorganism must be isolated from a diseased organism and grown in pure culture.
The cultured microorganism should cause disease when introduced into a healthy organism.
The microorganism must be re-isolated from the inoculated, diseased experimental host and identified as being identical to the original specific causative agent.

While having some validity, Koch's postulates actually fail in more than one case.

Take the example of Staphylococcus Aureus, a name that strikes fear into the minds of many. When I picked up my first College Microbiology book in 1958, Staph aureus was a common, well known bacterium, but considered to be mostly innocuous. Infections of this microbe were not common and were easily treatable with commonly available antibiotics.

The issue was and is that here, it failed the last part of the first postulate in that it was commonly found all over the bodies of many human beings including many who did not present illness. However, it was not commonly found to infect most humans although abundantly present. This is where Bechamp's Terrain theory seemed to fit because people with poor immunity seemed to suddenly fall prey to this normally innocuous microbe. Koch later abandoned partial requirements of the first postulate when he discovered asymptomatic carriers of cholera and typhoid fever.

Then, there is the flaw with virus sources in the second postulate. A virus can not be grown in pure culture, simply because it requires a living organism as a host in order to replicate. This is not a failure but is an exception to the rule because of the very nature of a virus. The virus is the ultimate obligatory parasite. Its very existence requires a host.

What it comes down to is that the failure to meet Koch's Postulates does not prove, either that virus caused illness and disease does not exist nor does it in any way prove that any virus does not exist. It only shows a failure in Kock's postulates as a proof of causation of disease or illness. Koch's postulates are not universally applicable.

So, do virus's actually exist?

Some recent articles have made claims that what some see as images of a virus are actually either random aberrations or cellular excretions known as Exosomes.

In an article published by NIH in 2009 ( ) it is claimed: "Summary: Electron microscopy, considered by some to be an old technique, is still on the forefront of both clinical viral diagnoses and viral ultra-structure and pathogenesis studies. ". Also, the article states "In the research arena, modalities such as immunoelectron microscopy, cryo-electron microscopy, and electron tomography have demonstrated how viral structural components fit together, attach to cells, assimilate during replication, and associate with the cellular machinery during replication and egression. ".

The article from the NIH goes on to state: "Electron microscopy (EM) has long been used in the discovery and description of viruses. Organisms smaller than bacteria have been known to exist since the late 19th century (11), but the first EM visualization of a virus came only after the electron microscope was developed.".

The first virus ever to be clearly identified was the Tobacco Mosaic Virus. As stated in the article, "In 1948, differences between the virus that causes smallpox and the virus that causes chicken pox were demonstrated by EM (62, 92). The first image of polio virus was taken in 1952 (74), and virus-host relationships began to be studied in the mid-1950s ". Despite the claims of those who support the exosome theory and others that claim that the virus is only an artifact, each species of virus can be specifically morphologically identified and even closely related virus can be distinguished. Smallpox virus, Chickenpox, and Cowpox viruses are all related but each has identifiable differences that can be seen under examination by the electron microscope.

There are claims that the HIV virus has not been isolated or found with electron microscope examination. This is entirely false and the images are well presented in an article titled "Electron Microscopy of Human Immunodeficiency Virus"

There are additional images ( colorized ) at "HIV Microscopy in Pictures", and for anyone with interest in details electron micrography of HIV, this video "How a super-microscope could revolutionize what we know about HIV | Wellcome".

There are also claims made about the nonexistence of Coronavirus. This information was posted in April 2020: "Coronaviruses (CoVs) are actually not completely new and they constitute a large family of viruses found in nature that infect many different animals. They possess a single-stranded, positive-sense RNA genome, meaning that the RNA can be directly translated into viral protein. According to CDC publications, there are currently 7 different Coronavirus strains that infect humans. Most of these present themselves as a mild cold in symptoms and rarely do they cause any serious difficulties except in severely immuno-compromised individuals. The coronavirus was first identified in the 1960's and there are 4 mild forms known as 229E (alpha coronavirus), NL63 (alpha coronavirus), OC43 (beta coronavirus), and HKU1 (beta coronavirus). The first discovery in 1965, was originally made from a culture that was obtained from the respiratory tract of an adult with a common cold. It was tested according to Koch's postulates by inoculating the medium from these cultures intra-nasally in human volunteers; colds were produced in a significant proportion of subjects, but not in all, possibly indicating that some subjects may have developed immunity.".

Why is the virus so illusive?

The real answer is size. The virus is extremely small, to small to be able to be seen with a light microscope. There are a couple of possible exceptions though.

Light has a wavelength of about 380 nm for violet to 700 nm for red. It takes an object of 381 nm in size to block 380 nm and 701 nm to block 700 nm. Anything smaller, the light just goes around with some dimming, depending on the actual size. For this reason, there can be slight discernation of objects from about 250 nm and up with standard light microscopy. Any 2 objects that are closer than 250 nm to each other will not appear as separate but will appear as one object. Any object smaller than 250 nm will appear as not being an identifiable object.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is 100 nm in size and for that reason, will not be visible in the best microscope using standard light resolution. Most virus are between 20 and 200 nm in size and most bacteria are 1 to 3 um in size ( that is 1000 to 3000 nm ). So, while bacteria are easy to see with standard microscopy, the virus will not be visible.

A couple of exceptions are Mimivirus with a size of 500 nm ( 0.5 um ) and Tupanvirus with a size of about 450 to 550 nm ( also roughly 0.5 um ). There is also Faustovirus which has a size of about 200 nm or 0.2 um. These virus forms mostly infect protists, especially amoeba. As a note: Tupanvirus has a cylindrical tail that is about 550 nm long and is covered with fibrils, attached to the base of the capsid. This make this virus close to 1 um or 1000 nm in length. This is as large as some bacteria. All of these giant virus forms are recent discoveries in the last few years.

Sadly, the limit of the light microscope requires us to use other methods to show the virus and to illustrate that it exists. The current alternative to this is the electron microscope which has far better resolution. The electron microscope currently has a resolution of 0,1 nm or 0.0001 um which is significantly better. The problem is that in order to visualize using the electron microscope is that the samples must be killed and a metal film usually applied to distinguish the forms. Some people wrongfully think that the image is an artifact even though it is reproducible.

A major characteristic of the virus is the absence of ribosomes which is why the virus can not replicate on its own. A virus must attach to the cell of either a prokaryotic cell or to a eukaryotic cell in order for replication to occur. Once attached to a cell, the virus will inject its genetic material, RNA or DNA depending on the species of virus, into that cell along with possibly some enzymes to control the replication of its genetic material. In the case of bacteria infecting virus, they are referred to as bacteriophages.

So, the real issue is that because the virus can not be discerned under observation with the light microscope and that it is impossible to culture it in a sterile nutrient media, some think that is evidence against it existence. The virus, while not a living organism, is infectious as it is capable of infecting a suitable cell with its genetic material, resulting in damage or injury to the cell and disease. In the case of any virus, Koch's Postulates necessarily have to be modified.

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