Life is broadly defined as the condition of an organism that exhibits growth through metabolism, reproduction, and adaptation to its environment. These characteristics separate living organisms from inanimate objects
A virus straddles the definition of life and, according to scientific definition, is not technically alive. It is composed simply of DNA and ribonucleic acid (RNA) strands surrounded by a protein shell and requires a host cell to metabolize and reproduce. When not within a host cell, a virus lies dormant and is nothing more than a static organic particle
(Pictured: HIV/AIDS virus).