Friday, December 26

Ze Rat

Eitan and I go for a walk and, given that we are up all night with Madeleine's stomach bug, I ask him: "do you know the difference between a bacteria and virus?" He looks at me quizzically so I try to explain but stumble. Here is the answer: "The differences between viruses and bacteria are numerous. "Viruses are the smallest and simplest life form known. They are 10 to 100 times smaller than bacteria. The biggest difference between viruses and bacteria is that viruses must have a living host - like a plant or animal - to multiply, while most bacteria can grow on non-living surfaces.

"Also, unlike bacteria, which attack the body like soldiers mounting a pitched battle, viruses are guerrilla fighters. They don't attack so much as infiltrate. They literally invade human cells and turn the cell's genetic material from its normal function to producing the virus itself.

In addition, bacteria carry all the machinery needed for their growth and multiplication, while viruses carry mainly information - for example, DNA or RNA, packaged in a protein and/or membranous coat. Viruses harness the host cell's machinery to reproduce. In a sense, viruses are not truly "living," but are essentially information (DNA or RNA) that float around until they encounter a suitable living host." Well, this is more information than any of us need so suffice it to say Sonnet and I comfort Madeleine and make sure she feels loved and looked after- it is traumatising for the poor child, no doubt. No they watch "Ratatouille" a movie about a rat who becomes a chef, allow me to say en francais, "ze raht is in ze kitchen." Try it- guaranteed addictive. Photo from Disney.