Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Virus mnemonic

Do you know viruses have various shapes?
The simple viruses are either icosahedral or helical.

Cool and important fact:
Icosahedral viruses can either be simply a naked caspid virus or it can be an enveloped caspid virus.
But if a virus is helical, it HAS to be enveloped and surrounded by a nice lipid bilayer (mostly derived from the host cell membrane)

How I remember that helical viruses are always enveloped is:
Think of our DNA!
We have a helical structure.. So the helical viruses can not survive without our cell membranes.
Helical virus forms can not be naked.

I know it's stupid but it makes life easy for me < 3

If you want to stuff your hippocampus with some other facts:
Enveloped DNA viruses – Herpes, Hepatitis B and Poxvirus.
All other DNA viruses are non-enveloped.

All RNA viruses are enveloped except PCR (Picorna, Calcivirus, Reovirus)

Coool.. So all these RNA guys are enveloped and have different shapes?
Yes! There is a generalization to this rule too..

All (─) RNA viruses are Helical shaped except Reovirus.
See the  in |─|
(Horizontal line in the middle of H tells you that it's negative)

The negative sense RNA viruses are:
Bunyavirus, Paramyxovirus, Rhabdovirus, Orthomyxovirus, Filovirus, Deltavirus, Arenavirus.
Bunnies Myxed with Rhabies Are Thought (Ortho) to Fight in the Delta Arena.
Bunnies dying is always a negative thing T_T

The negative sense RNA viruses mnemonic
All (+) RNA viruses are Icosahedral shaped except Corona virus.
See the | in I
(Vertical line in I tells you that it's positive)

The positive sense RNA viruses are:
Togavirus, Flavovirus, Coronavirus, Retrovirus, Picornavirus.
Revealing a Toga while sipping Flavored Corona can lead to a Retro Picorno.
Sex is always a positive thing xP

Just saying :D

I also keep forgetting the names of the Picorna viruses
So I made this illustration to remember -
A rhino offering popcorn (picorna) to a cock who is screaming "Aaaa" while standing on a pole. The "Aaaa" is echoing back.
Rhinovirus, Coxsackie virus, Hepatitis A virus, Polio virus, Echovirus.
Rhino offering popcorn is a positive thing :)

Picorna virus mnemonic - Rhinovirus, Coxsackie virus, Hepatitis A virus, Polio virus, Echovirus.
Do you know about the famous singers Beyonce Knowles and Jay-Z? Whether or not you like them, think of them as viruses - Polyoma virus! BK and JC! This mnemonic was submitted by Thomas.

That's all!

Related posts:
Parvovirus B19 (Erythema infectiosum) mnemonics
Viral inclusion bodies mnemonic
How I remember that Norwalk virus is a Calcivirus that causes gastroenteritis


  1. parvo is the only single stranded DNA virus (parvo--- par 't' of double strand--- single strand)
    reo is the only double stranded RNA virus --- remember oreo biscuit (two biscuit with cream in between)


    1. Haha I love the Oreo biscuit mnemonic! Thanks for sharing <3

    2. I published your mnemonic here --> http://medicowesome.blogspot.in/2014/01/parvovirus-b19-erythema-infectiosum.html

  2. its my pleasure :-)


    I just now came to know that hepe virus family is not enveloped! i.e Hepatitis - E virus --- it is non enveloped single stranded RNA virus

    we miss this in PCR mnemonic!

    also can u clarify about flaviviridae virus?? -- are they enveloped??

    1. Remembering everything gets to messy T_T

      Yes, flaviviridae are enveloped

  3. incredible!!!!!!!!thanks a lot

  4. Thaaanks a loooot. This is aamazing:))

  5. Made my day easier... thanks a lot

  6. Any mnemonic for the site of replication of both rna and dna viruses?


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