The virus attaches to a host cell
Unlike other living cells, viruses do not contain the ability to sustain life on their own. In order to survive, they must find a host cell, outside of which a virus can neither function nor survive. When a living thing is exposed to a virus, the virus will find itself a host cell to attach to and enter it.
It releases genetic instructions
Once the virus is inside the host cell, it will release genetic instructions. These "instructions" are genetic material that contain the information needed to replicate the virus. Without it, the virus would be unable to reproduce.
With the genetic material of the virus released, the virus is now able to take control of the cell. In doing so, the virus creates a factory of sorts where cell is forced to produce and replicate more copies of the virus.
The infected cell dies
After the viral invasion, the cell will eventually die. Since it has been prevented from performing its normal functions due to the invasion, it has no way of surviving.
The virus breaks free
After the cell has died, it will release the new viruses it has created into the host body. These viruses will then go on to infect other cells. This cycle continues until the host devises a way of fighting back.
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