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. Thaaanks a loooot. This is aamazing:))

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

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

  6. Envelopes were being distributed one day
    DNA viruses say we dont need any envelope we are already strong Just give it to our three members as a sign of respect = Herpes, Hep B , Poxvirus

    RNA viruses are in much need of so called envelope, they all take envelope except there 3 already powerful members. Those 3 powerful members are powerful because they eat calcium rich { CALCIVIRUS } oreo { RHEOVIRUS } pickle { POXVIRUS }

  7. Naked helical: Tobacco mosaic virus


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