Viruses heroes or villains?

in Project HOPE2 months ago (edited)

In the cinematographic context, the figures of heroes and villains have been assigned to characters with opposite roles, where the hero is usually the protagonist who symbolizes the benevolent, extraordinary, strong, skillful, bold, kindness, generosity, and bravery, while the villain character alludes to a malevolent, unethical, selfish, manipulative, aggressive, peace-breaking antagonist role, and in essence represents the main obstacle that the hero must overcome to achieve his goal.

Fig. 2 The hero is a female or male character that symbolizes benevolence, extraordinary, strong, skillful, bold, kindness, generosity, and bravery. Image of public domain, Author: ErikaWittlieb, 2014

In relation to cinema these two characters are the key pieces of the literary or philosophical background of any film, so there is no film without heroes and villains, however, it is important to mention that in some films the villain ends up being the great hero, the most emblematic case occurred in Terminator 2: The Last Judgment, where the cyborg exterminator represented by Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 1: The Terminator returned, in the second film as the hero who saves the teenager John Connor.

Fig. 3 In the movie Terminator 2 the cyborg terminator went from villain to hero. Image of public domain, Author: Tookapic, 2015

However, beyond the cinematographic world, in real life and very specifically from the biological health level, not all microorganisms are heroes (microorganisms that generate beneficial reactions at the metabolic level) and not all are villains (microorganisms that cause problems or negative reactions at the metabolic level), since all living beings are made up of microbiome (bacteria, fungi, protozoa and other microbes) and viroma (virus) with specific, essential and vital functions that help us stay healthy.

However, recent studies reveal that viruses have had a positive impact on our process of evolution and adaptation, because it is inferred that much of our DNA is derived from virus insertions, and in turn these regions of DNA or viral genes produce essential proteins that ensure the normal functioning of our metabolic system.

Fig. 4 Our DNA remains a puzzle for science, and where much of the microbiological ecology of our inner world is unknown. Image of public domain, Author: Qimono, 2017

These results expose the enormous gap and the profound lack of knowledge that science has about the microbiological ecology of our inner world. I look forward to reading your insights and comments.


[1] Oliver T Los billones de virus que viven en tu cuerpo y ayudan a mantenerte vivo. BBC Science Focus. 2001. Article: Online access

[2] Linde R., and Nevado I The evolution of the villain in Spanish cinema (1982-2015). 2016. Article: Online access

[3] Hernández M La evolución de las actitudes del héroe en el cine de Hollywood. 2016. Article: Online access


The cover image was designed by the author: @lupafilotaxia, incorporating the public domain image background: Perianjs, 2020


Certainly, viruses are something like misunderstood heroes that generate a cellular reaction that produces biological changes, some strengthening the immune system and others destroying it.
Something very well explained in the famous novel by H.G. Wells, later transformed into a radio soap opera, movie and series, "The War of the Worlds" where the flu virus manages to save the world, something that the most sophisticated weapons could not.
Good analogy.

Greetings @joseph1956

Good way to call viruses "misunderstood heroes", for somehow we indeed have little understanding of the biological functioning that viruses exert on our organism, I will read something about the novel by H.G. Wells. Thank you for commenting. Best regards, have a great weekend.

Interesting analogy friend @lupafilotaxia, there really are many cases in cinematography in which the villain or antihero after doing terrible things causes a greater good, I guess when a pandemic occurs, the species that is attacked is forced to adapt, evolving for the better. Perhaps by trying to better understand this villain we could find a better solution to our perpetual war against disease.

Greetings dear friend @emiliomoron

It is recurrent as the cinematography in many cases from the biological not only reflects the real behavior, but exceeds the scope that has certain issues of a scientific nature. Thank you for leaving your accurate comment.

hi dear @lupafilotaxia
What a great movie Terminator 2 was, it's unfortunate the direction they chose for that saga, I think that was the last good Terminator movie, on your reflection, evolution is like that in simple words we could say that what does not destroy you strengthens you.

Greetings @ramsesuchiha

A good biological argument, but while certainly the microorganisms that do not affect us are intended to create favorable conditions, it is also true that those microorganisms that do affect us create conditions that strengthen us from attack by other pathogens. Thank you for commenting. Best regards, have a great weekend.

Hello friend, interesting topic, I agree with you, it all depends on the approach we give it or the situation we are talking about. Not always what we see in a negative way has only bad consequences we can also see benefits. Thanks for sharing.

Greetings @franyeligonzalez

Very timely and accurate your comment, it all depends on the approach or reading that we give to certain situations, in this of biology or human nature is something that fits perfectly. Thanks for commenting. Best regards, have a great weekend.

Very interesting way of approaching the subject my friend @lupafilotaxy. When I looked at the images I was very interested. That is one of the ways in which we have been adapting trying to study what affects us to combat it. Very good post. Greetings!

Greetings @yusvelasquez

Correct science has only focused on investigating or studying only what affects us to then create means to fight, however, in that process the positive elements are ignored, for example I read that the hepatitis virus creates immune conditions that protect us from HIV. Thanks for commenting. Best regards, have a great weekend.

Hello @lupafilotaxia
Viruses are usually identified as villains. Very interesting topic presented, food for thought and research.

Exactly @raizayanez the little information we have about viruses has only reached us to label viruses as villains, however, from the biological point of view in nature everything is a piece that fits together so that everything works correctly, look at the hepatitis virus and that affects our health, recently it was found that it serves to counteract the HIV. Thanks for reading.

Terminator 2 is not an example of a villain becoming a hero. In this movie, this is a different terminator from the one that was crushed in the original movie.

A much better example is Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol. Where someone becomes charitable to others by the end of the book. In Despicable Me the main character is a loveless thief who has a change of heart. In both of these the main character is the villain, however. The best example that I can think of is Captain Louis Renault from Casa Blanca. He is part of the government there that had been going along with the fascists until the end of the movie where he sees an opportunity to turn patriot.