Types of virus shapes

By: Michelle Taylor

viruses

There are for different types of viruses complex, spherical, polyhedral, and helical.

Complex

Complex viruses have neither helical nor polyhedral forms, are pleomorphic or irregular shaped or have complex structures. One type of complex virus is bacteriophage. bacteriophage is a type of virus that replaces inside the bacterium.

Spherical

This virus structure is a conventional icosahedral or helical structure that is surrounded by a lipid bilayer membrane. The influenza virus is a spherical virus. There are three types of influenza virus, type A, B, and C. Type A is the most common and infects multiple species type C also infects multiple species but is much less common. Type B exclusively infects humans, but it has been found that some seals can also be infected.

Polyhedral

Polyhedral viruses consist of nucleic acid surrounded by a polyhedral (many-sided) shell or capsid usually in the form of an icosahedron. A polyhedral virus is the adenovirus. The adenovirus is the largest non enveloped virus, and is easily transported through the endosome.

Helical

Helical viruses consist of nucleic acid surrounded by a hollow protein cylinder or capsid and possessing a helical structure.