Can viruses be beneficial? | DW Documentary

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Viruses can be fatal, but some viruses can in fact be life-sustaining. The SARS-CoV-2 virus has killed large numbers of people during the current pandemic. But humans wouldn’t exist without viruses. How can they benefit us? Viruses aren’t living beings, yet they have had a great influence on evolution. Some viral elements have embedded themselves into the human genome and reproduce along with us - so-called endogenous retroviruses. One type of virus helps form the placenta, for example, while other viruses attack harmful bacteria. Viruses also maintain balance in marine ecosystems, curbing the growth of algae and attacking bacteria that are harmful to sea animals. Soon, viruses may even replace antibiotics in fish farming. Thousands of viruses have already been sequenced, including Ebola, Zika and bird flu. Ebola is one of the deadliest viruses in the world, with a mortality rate of up to 90%. But experts see greater danger in the less deadly diseases like Spanish flu and COVID-19: Because they spread much further, they kill more people overall. Viruses can also be used to create vaccines. In Rome, the shell of a virus found in gorilla feces has been used as a vector for the COVID-19 vaccine, turning a pathogen into a life-saving drug. __ DW Documentary gives you knowledge beyond the headlines. Watch top documentaries from German broadcasters and international production companies. Meet intriguing people, travel to distant lands, get a look behind the complexities of daily life and build a deeper understanding of current affairs and global events. Subscribe and explore the world around you with DW Documentary. Subscribe to: DW Documentary: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCW39zufHfsuGgpLviKh297Q?sub_confirmation=1# DW Documental (Spanish): https://www.youtube.com/dwdocumental DW Documentary (Arabic): https://www.youtube.com/dwdocarabia For more visit: http://www.dw.com/en/tv/docfilm/s-3610 Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dwdocumentary/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dw.stories We kindly ask viewers to read and stick to the DW netiquette policy on our channel: https://p.dw.com/p/MF1G
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