Viruses have historically been classified into one of two types – those with an outer lipid-containing envelope and those without an envelope. For the first time, researchers at the University of North Carolina have discovered that hepatitis A virus, a common cause of enterically-transmitted hepatitis, takes on characteristics of both virus types depending on whether it is in a host or in the environment.
“The whole universe of virology is divided into two types of viruses – viruses that are enveloped and viruses that are not enveloped. If you look at any basic virology textbook, it will say that these are categories that distinguish all viruses,” said lead researcher Stanley M. Lemon, MD, professor of medicine and a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Center for Translational Immunology.
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