AAT Bioquest

Are viruses considered living?

Posted January 26, 2023


Viruses are considered as something between living and nonliving. Viruses cannot be considered living because they are unable to grow or reproduce by themselves, which are two mandatory requirements to be classified as living. The inability to grow or reproduce independently classifies them as non-living. However, on entering a living cell of an organism, a virus obtains energy from the host cell and starts reproducing. The ability to reproduce is a notable characteristic of living organisms, which makes the virus a living organism. Essentially, viruses are considered non-living outside the host cell and living inside the host cell. They cannot be categorized as either living or non-living beings.

Additional resources

Origins and evolution of viruses of eukaryotes: The ultimate modularity

Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)

Covidyte™ EN450