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An estimated 10 nonillion (10 to the 31st power) individual viruses exist on our planet—enough to assign one to every star in the universe 100 million times over.
Viruses infiltrate every aspect of our natural world, seething in seawater, drifting through the atmosphere, and lurking in miniscule motes of soil. Generally considered non-living entities, these pathogens can only replicate with the help of a host, and they are capable of hijacking organisms from every branch of the tree of life—including a multitude of human cells.
Yet, most of the time, our species manages to live in this virus-filled world relatively free of illness. The reason has less to do with the human body’s resilience to disease than the biological quirks of viruses themselves, says Sara Sawyer, a virologist and disease ecologist at the University of Colorado Boulder. These pathogens are extraordinarily picky about the cells they infect, and only an infinitesimally small fraction of the viruses that surround us actually pose any threat to humans.
Viruses with a lot of genetic flexibility, and particularly those that encode their genomes as RNA rather than DNA, are well-suited to crossing the species divide. Compared to viruses and cells that rely on DNA, RNA viruses tend to be sloppy when copying over their genetic code, introducing mutations at a high rate. This error-prone process creates an immense amount of diversity into populations of RNA viruses, allowing them to adapt to new environments—including new host species—at a rapid pace, says Sarah Zohdy, a disease ecologist at Auburn University.
Of the pathogens that have infected the human population in recent decades, the majority have been RNA viruses, including Ebola, SARS, MERS, Zika, several influenza viruses, and SARS-CoV-2.
Nearly 10 percent of the human genome is made of bits of virus DNA.
Perhaps the title should have said "individual viruses" which is what the OP linked article says, but you haven't shown the title is wrong other than that omission.
originally posted by: Spacespider
I just want to say that your title is wrong.. there are NOT more viruses then stars in our universe
There are 100 billion stars in the milky way alone in October 2016, an article in Science (based on deep-field images from the Hubble Space Telescope) suggested that there are about 2 trillion galaxies in the observable universe
2 trillion times 100 billion stars.. just in our observable universe