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Vampire Viruses

Vampire Viruses:


Vampire Viruses have been recently discovered on US soil for the first time.

  • Vampire Viruses are pathogens that latch onto other viruses in order to replicate themselves.
  • They emerge when a bacteriophage attaches to a soil-based virus, utilising its “life” for independent survival.
  • This viral relationship between two pathogens is called a satellite and a helper.
  • The satellite is the infectious strand that relies on the helper for support through its life cycle.
  • Satellites depend on both their host organism and helper virus to complete its life cycle.
  • The satellite virus depends on the helper virus to build the protective shell that covers its genetic material, called a capsid or to help it replicate its DNA.
  • Most satellite viruses contain a gene that allows them to integrate into the host cell’s genetic material after they enter the cell.
  • This enables the satellite to reproduce whenever a helper enters the cell from then on.
  • The host cell also copies the satellite’s DNA and its own when it divides.