Virus Invaders Essay

Katie Turner
Technical Writing
Period 7
Virus Invaders, written by Alan E. Nourse, M.D., explores different viruses and our body’s defenses against them. This book traces the history of the discovery of viruses, and discusses the difficulty of identifying them, major diseases caused by viruses, the present state of virology, and the prognosis for the treatment.

This book is an up-date examination of the structure and function of viruses that covers how they invade the body and what they do once they have entered. Common and uncommon diseases (chicken pox, hepatitis, mononucleosis, herpes, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, encephalitis, AIDS) are discussed in depth.

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Viruses are so mysterious and their behaviors are so complex that it is almost as difficult to describe them to the nonscientist as it is to study them in the laboratory. Nourse does an awesome job of writing in laypersons’ terms without making the reader feel like a child. The most fascinating chapter describes viruses as the not-quite-living enemy.
The photographs of laboratories look dull and fuzzy in the book and the black-and-white illustrations are not that great for representing magnified specimens. However, Nourse does a good job in explaining this information.
Nourse describes the discovery of viruses and their nature, and discusses the variety of viral diseases, vaccines and immunity, and recent research. He presents a wide scope of information; detailed, complex explanations about such topics as DNA and RNA; and focuses on AIDS and HIV. Likewise, hepatitis A, B, and C are dealt with separately. An excellent double-page chart details in outline form the viruses, diseases caused, organs attacked, symptoms, usual outcomes, and possibilities of an available vaccine.
Analogies and action-packed adjectives and nouns will keep young readers actively involved in unraveling the mysteries of these ‘tiny tyrants.’ . . . Current areas of viral research are presented, encouraging a continued interesting this subject. Only a couple of minor flaws are seen in the beauty of this excellent presentation. The book is recommended highly, both for general knowledge and as material for the classroom.

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