Medical Definition of RNA virus

RNA virus: A virus in which the genetic material is RNA. The RNA may be either double- or single-stranded.

There are 6 classes of viruses. The DNA viruses constitute classes I and II. The RNA viruses make up the remaining classes. Class III viruses have a double-stranded RNA genome. Class IV viruses have a positive single-stranded RNA genome, the genome itself acting as mRNA (messenger RNA. Class V viruses have a negative single-stranded RNA genome used as a template for mRNA synthesis. Class VI viruses have a positive single- stranded RNA genome but with a DNA intermediate not only in replication but also in mRNA synthesis.

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Last Editorial Review: 12/11/2018