Evs and viruses are similar

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Both EVs and viruses are similar in a lot of regards. They both contain genetic material, are covered with a membrane, their sizes, density, and overall composition is very similar. The only crucial difference is the ability of viruses to reproduce inside of cells, while EVs do not do that[@hoen2016Extracellular vesicles and viruses: Are they close relatives?].

This is especially important for enveloped viruses such as hiv-1 and for retroviruses such as hepatitis a. Moreover, there is a very fine distinction between a virus without the capacity to reproduce (noninfectious viruses) and an EV generated from a healthy cell.

Tetraspanins can mediate cell targetting and are present both in virus and EV particles. This opens to door for using EVs that inhibit viral infection.

One crucial difference between them, however, is whether EV's can spread from one organism to another. This is a very interesting question and apparently is not fully answered yet. Can breast milk or semen contain EVs that move from one person to another?


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Aquiles Carattino
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