What was once seen as a blessing from the heavens became the worst nightmare of the characters in the Scandinavian drama series ‘The Rain’ as a virus carried by rainfall wipes out half of the human population. Viral rain may make a great plot line for any post-apocalyptic TV series, and it’s not all fiction, but there’s no need to panic.
It’s a hotly debated question in the world of virology and microbiology: are viruses living or dead? While technology has come so far to help us see viruses and even see inside them, scientists can’t quite decide whether viruses are living or non-living organisms. What’s the evidence on each side of the argument? Will we ever be able to decide?
It’s hard to imagine a world in which we don’t hear anything about viruses, but we don’t have to travel too far back in time to see it be a reality. Scientists have discovered viruses as old as 30,000 years, yet our knowledge of their existence is much younger than that. So, how did we discover viruses?