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Virus and Vital Organization


RESEARCH workers who deal with virus diseases have many brilliant pieces of investigation to their credit. The study of little more than a decade has elucidated the size of different virus particles, the nature of virus protein, and its reactions as an immunological agent; the patient inquiry into virus pathology has now made possible a general review of the problem. A recent book1 by Dr. Kenneth M. Smith, one of the foremost authorities on the subject, still says, however, that it cannot yet be said whether the virus is living or not, and many modern reviews of the problem2,3,4 testify to the intense, though still unsatisfied, interest in this particular question. It is, indeed, of fundamental importance to determine whether virus is the smallest living entity or the most complex of non-living phenomena; it is already conceded by most research workers that it occupies a position intermediate between these states, having affinities with both.

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GRAINGER, J. Virus and Vital Organization. Nature 146, 539–541 (1940).

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