Viruses are microscopic parasites that exist almost everywhere on Earth. They are considered to be quite creepy, and rightfully so, as they literally attack cells to make more copies of themselves. They are even able to mutate rather quickly! And, although they might be considered one of humans worst enemies, they do play a vital role in ecosystems. Some scientists, in fact, suggest that viruses are possibly responsible for abiogenesis – "the natural process by which life has arisen from non-living matter".
But the question of whether or not viruses are alive is one that has been highly debated over decades. Viruses most definitely do have the ability to self-replicate and evolve so, therefore, they might be alive, right? Well, it is not that simple. Before you can ask the question of whether or not something is alive, you first have to agree on what dictates whether or not something has life. And that argument changes from person to person as there is not an absolute answer.
So, even in 2021, as science and our understanding of biology are greater than ever before, we are still unsure whether or not viruses are actually alive or not.
Take a look at the video below by the YouTube channel, Sci Show, on Are Viruses Alive?