A picture is worth a thousand words, right? That’s what virologists would love for you to believe when it comes to their beautifully hand-crafted and digitally enhanced Electron Microscope images of particles claimed to be “viruses.” However, to understand the trickery involved in Virology, one must understand that there are billions of similar looking particles within us at all times. These can come in the form of cellular debris, microvesicles, and extracellular vesicles to name just a few. Many of these subparticles are identical to “viruses” in nearly every way, are impossible to separate from the so-called “virus” particles, and have been given many of the same characteristics/functions assigned to “viruses.” One of these subparticles that has come to prominence during this “pandemic” is called an exosome.
WHAT ARE EXOSOMES AND WHY ARE EXOSOMES IMPORTANT?
“Exosomes are defined as nanometre-sized vesicles, being packages of biomolecules ranging from 40-150 nanometres in size that are released by virtually every cell type in the body. Once thought to be a kind of refuse disposal system for cells, exosomes are now known to be far more important than that. Exosomes have been shown to be key mediators of cell to cell communication, delivering a distinct cargo of lipids, proteins and nucleic acids that reflects their cell of origin.
The exosomes released by regenerative cells such as stem cells, for example, are potent drivers of healing and repair. Whereas exosomes secreted from diseased cells could be used to detect and diagnose conditions such as cancers at their earliest and most readily treatable phase.”
What Are Exosomes and Why Are Exosomes Important?
In other words, exosomes are small “virus-like” particles that are released from every cell in the body and are theorized to have a role in both health and disease. However, like exosomes, “viruses” are also small particles said to have both a role in health and disease. So what, then, are the differences between “viruses” and exosomes? As it turns out, not much. They are two supposedly different sub microscopic organisms which are impossible to tell apart:
Vehicles of intercellular communication: exosomes and HIV-1
“The generic characterization of extracellular vesicles could also be used as a descriptor of enveloped viruses, highlighting the fact that extracellular vesicles and enveloped viruses are similar in both composition and function. Their high degree of similarity makes differentiating between vesicles and enveloped viruses in biological specimens particularly difficult.”
“However, as previously reviewed, exosomes and viruses do not conform to strict definitions . Intermediate particles exist on the spectrum between virus and exosome that contain both host and viral components, making it nearly impossible to classify these vesicles as either defective viruses or exosomes that contain viral components . Intermediate particles are often classified as a virus or exosome derivative, depending on the preference of the investigator, but once these vesicles deviate from strict definitions they may be more accurately defined as an assortment of lipid-encased particles that cannot be easily differentiated .”
It is very apparent that these two supposedly different types of particles are not only impossible to separate, they are impossible to distinguish as well. So just how much do “viruses” and exosomes have in common?
Extracellular vesicles and viruses: Are they close relatives?
“EVs generated by virus-infected cells can incorporate viral proteins and fragments of viral RNA, being thus indistinguishable from defective (noninfectious) retroviruses.”
“However, it has recently been found that EVs can have important biological functions and that in both structural and functional aspects they resemble viruses. This resemblance becomes even more evident with EVs produced by cells productively infected with viruses. Such EVs contain viral proteins and parts of viral genetic material. In this article, we emphasize the similarity between EVs and viruses, in particular retroviruses. Moreover, we emphasize that in the specific case of virus-infected cells, it is almost impossible to distinguish EVs from (noninfectious) viruses and to separate them.”
“In contrast to EVs, the definition of viruses developed by 20th century virologists was quite precise: both the Encyclopedia Britannica and the Oxford English Dictionary define virus as “an infectious agent of small size that can multiply only in living cells.” EVs do not fall under this definition, because despite their resemblance to viruses in many aspects, they are fundamentally different, as they do not replicate. However, contemporary virology has distanced itself from this strict definition of virus by its wide use of the terms noninfectious and defective virus. Therefore, EVs generated by retrovirus-infected cells that carry viral proteins and even fragments of viral genomes essentially fall under the definition of noninfectious viruses.
Based on current knowledge, there are many aspects in which EVs resemble viruses, in particular retroviruses. First, although some EVs may be up to a micrometer in size, the majority of EVs are <300 nm, the size of a typical RNA virus. Like enveloped viruses, EVs are surrounded by a lipid membrane that also contains cell membrane proteins. Like many viruses, EVs are formed in the endosomal system or at the plasma membrane via defined biogenesis pathways, for example, involving the endosomal sorting complexes required for transport (ESCRT) machinery (1). Like viruses, EVs can bind to the plasma membranes of other cells, enter them either through fusion or endocytosis, and trigger specific reactions from these recipient cells (1). Finally, EVs carry genetic material, and this genetic material can change functions of the recipient cells (2, 3). Especially in the case of retroviruses, EVs generated in infected cells contain selected molecules of viral origin (4) and can be so similar to noninfectious defective viruses that have lost their ability to replicate that the difference between them becomes blurred.”
“Recent scientific breakthroughs have shown that EV-associated proteins, lipids, and genetic material can be functionally transferred to target cells (13, 17–19), strongly implying that EVs and (retro)viruses have in common not only structural but also some functional aspects. This similarity is a reflection of the similarity in biogenesis of EVs and viruses (Fig. 2).”
“Because EVs are produced by virtually all cells, probably every viral preparation is in fact a mixture of virions and EVs. To study their respective functions, it is necessary to separate EVs and virions. This is very difficult with some viruses, such as retroviruses, because both EVs and retroviruses are comparable in size (EVs ranging from 50 to 100 nm, virions being ∼100 nm) and buoyant density (EVs: 1.13–1.18 g/L; most retroviruses: 1.16–1.18 g/L). Other membrane-derived materials may also have similar characteristics. Therefore, density gradients, which are often used to separate EVs from contaminating protein aggregates on the basis of differences in buoyant densities (40), are not always reliable for separation of EVs from viral particles.”
“Unless more specifically defined, it is currently virtually impossible to specifically separate and identify EVs that carry viral proteins, host proteins, and viral genomic elements from enveloped viral particles that carry the same molecules.”
“A growing body of evidence indicates that cells infected with enveloped or nonenveloped viruses release EVs that contain viral components. Here, we aimed to create awareness that virus preparations may never be pure but rather are contaminated with diverse subpopulations of EVs, and some of these EVs may be either indistinguishable from or very similar to so-called defective viruses.”
As you can see, the only difference between a “virus” and an exosome (or “non-infectious virus”) is that exosomes do not replicate, which is a highly debatable difference and is entirely theoretical.
So if these two sub-microscopic entities are so similar that they are impossible to tell apart in both form and function, it becomes imperative to purify and isolate any sample from a sick person in order to separate your “viruses” from your exosomes as they will both be present in the sample. However, as stated in the previous source as well as in the one below, it appears this is an impossible task:
The Role of Extracellular Vesicles as Allies of HIV, HCV and SARS Viruses
“Nowadays, it is an almost impossible mission to separate EVs and viruses by means of canonical vesicle isolation methods, such as differential ultracentrifugation, because they are frequently co-pelleted due to their similar dimension [56,57]. To overcome this problem, different studies have proposed the separation of EVs from virus particles by exploiting their different migration velocity in a density gradient or using the presence of specific markers that distinguish viruses from EVs [56,58,59]. However, to date, a reliable method that can actually guarantee a complete separation does not exist.”
Click to access viruses-12-00571.pdf
- Exosomes are released by virtually every cell type in the body
- Exosomes are said to be key mediators of cell to cell communication, delivering a distinct cargo of lipids, proteins and nucleic acids that reflects their cell of origin
- Exosomes can come from both healthy and diseased cells
- Exosomes and “viruses” have such a high degree of similarity in both composition and function that it makes differentiating between them in biological specimens particularly difficult
- Intermediate particles exist on the spectrum between “virus” and exosome that contain both host and “viral” components, making it nearly impossible to classify these vesicles as either defective “viruses” or exosomes that contain “viral” components
- Exosomes and “viruses” can deviate from strict definitions so much that it is more accurate to define them as an assortment of lipid-encased particles that cannot be easily differentiated
- Exosomes are considered indistinguishable from defective (noninfectious) retroviruses
- Some EVs contain “viral” proteins and parts of “viral” genetic material
- EVs generated by retrovirus-infected cells that carry “viral” proteins and even fragments of “viral” genomes essentially fall under the definition of noninfectious “viruses”
- Based on current knowledge, there are many aspects in which EVs resemble “viruses:” such as:
- The majority of EVs are <300 nm, the size of a typical RNA “virus”
- Like enveloped “viruses,” EVs are surrounded by a lipid membrane that also contains cell membrane proteins
- Like many “viruses,” EVs are formed in the endosomal system or at the plasma membrane via defined biogenesis pathways
- Like “viruses,” EVs can bind to the plasma membranes of other cells, enter them either through fusion or endocytosis, and trigger specific reactions from these recipient cells
- EVs carry genetic material (including “viral”), and this genetic material can change functions of the recipient cells
- Every “viral” preparation is in fact a mixture of “virions” and EVs
- To study their respective functions, it is necessary to separate EVs and “virions”
- Density gradient centrifugation, often used to attempt purification/isolation, is not always reliable for separation of EVs from “viral” particles
- It is currently virtually impossible to specifically separate and identify EVs that carry “viral” proteins, host proteins, and “viral” genomic elements from enveloped “viral” particles that carry the same molecules
- “Virus” preparations may never be pure but rather are contaminated with diverse subpopulations of EVs, and some of these EVs may be either indistinguishable from or very similar to so-called defective “viruses”
- It is an almost impossible mission to separate EVs and “viruses” by means of canonical vesicle isolation methods, such as differential ultracentrifugation, because they are frequently co-pelleted due to their similar dimension
- A reliable method that can actually guarantee a complete separation does not exist
The original “SARS-COV-2” papers admitted to not purifying any particles, thus there is no way to know if what they claim is “SARS-COV-2” is really a “virus” or simply an exosome. These studies never proved pathogenicity either. In fact, there are no papers throughout the 100+ year history of virology that have ever purified/isolated any “virus” nor ever proven pathogenicity.
It is claimed that “viruses” and exosomes are indistinguishable and impossible to separate from each other. They admit that EV’s will be in the “virus” sample and that there are no methods currently in existence which can separate them. Therefore, it can never be claimed that any “virus” past or present has ever been properly purified/isolated. Virologists can never be certain if the particles in the EM images for which they claim as “viruses” are not just exosomes or some other extracellular vesicle instead. They can never be certain that the genetic material used for the creation of a genome comes from just one source as it is guaranteed there will be off-target genetic material in the sample.
“Viruses” are nothing more than exosomes. These are just two competing theories for the exact same particles created from artificial conditions in a lab. One views them as invaders from outside the body while the other envisions them as beneficial messengers from within. The truth is that these particles are not pathogenic, originate from material within the human body, and have had various unproven theoretical functions applied to them. It is even a fair question to ask whether or not these particles actually exist within the body in the state they are presented in rather than just being by-products from the cell destroying methods used to create them. The only thing for certain is that ‘viruses” and exosomes are the exact same particles.
Can you tell the difference?
wow, that is so cool that you can feature a paper within the article like that…. insert it so we can read it without opening up a new tab!
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Lol, I didn’t even know I did that. That’s cool tho!
Another great article mate. Had a question regarding how both interact in their in-vitro environment; are there any (claimed) observable behavioural differences between exosomes and viruses, during any stage of the cell interaction process, that virologists use to justify distinguishing one from the other? Or is it just arbitrary identification based on interpretation?
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As far as I know, it is arbitrary identification based on interpretation. They can not see or observe what these particles do in vivo, let alone in vitro. The particles claimed as exosomes and/or “viruses” are too small to be observed. The only way they can see these particles is in a fixed, dead state in EM so they assume/theorize based on other sources of indirect evidence that they obtain to create the narrative that they want.