Medical Definition of RNA virus

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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