Viruses: More Our Friends than Our Enemies
Viruses are ubiquitous. In one study, Suttle and his collaborators found that even at the tops of mountains, 3,000 meters above sea level, the air was full of viruses. “The result was striking: in every square meter about 10 million viruses fall from the atmosphere every day. In the ocean, there are so many viruses that when we go swimming, we easily swallow 200–300 million viruses from water taken into our mouths. Interestingly, they do not make us sick. Despite the fact that we are surrounded by viruses all the time, they mostly float around and do nothing to our health.” Even though viruses must infect an organism to reproduce, each virus is very specific in terms of what it can infect, and the millions of viruses that we swallow when we go swimming cannot infect humans.
"Quite counter-intuitively, we rely on these microbial to survive. If viruses did not exist, neither would we. In order to have life, we must have death to recycle the nutrients that allow for processes such as photosynthesis in the ocean to occur. Viruses are probably more our friends than our enemies."