ret·​ro·​vi·​rus | \ ˈre-trō-ˌvī-rəs How to pronounce retrovirus (audio) \

Definition of retrovirus

: any of a family (Retroviridae) of single-stranded RNA viruses that produce reverse transcriptase by means of which DNA is produced using their RNA as a template and incorporated into the genome of infected cells, that are often tumorigenic, and that include the lentiviruses (such as the HIVs) and the causative agent of Rous sarcoma

Other Words from retrovirus

retroviral \ ˈre-​trō-​ˌvī-​rəl How to pronounce retrovirus (audio) \ adjective

Examples of retrovirus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The line was also free of a specific virus that inserts itself into the pig genome (porcine endogenous retrovirus C, or PERV-C) and was raised in conditions that should limit pathogen exposure. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 24 June 2022 The following year, the laboratory run by the American researcher Dr. Robert Gallo at the National Institutes of Health, published four articles in one issue of Science confirming the link between a retrovirus and AIDS. New York Times, 10 Feb. 2022 Many doctors, though, suspected that the disease was triggered by a retrovirus, a kind of germ that slips into the host cell’s DNA and takes control, in a reversal of the way viruses typically work; hence the name retro. New York Times, 10 Feb. 2022 Creating a vaccine that targets HIV is challenging because the retrovirus become part of the human genome 72 hours after transmission. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 Aug. 2021 Although Ebola is not a retrovirus like HIV, Nath believes that years of research invested in studying HIV and the body’s response to the infection have jump-started our understanding of how Ebola affects the nervous system. Seema Yasmin, Scientific American, 29 Feb. 2016 The researchers analyzed in lab experiment how the serum samples neutralized lentiviruses -- a type of retrovirus -- equipped with the same mutations as the B.1.617 and B.1.618 coronavirus variants. Sheena Mckenzie, CNN, 17 May 2021 When the cells were returned to the patient through an intravenous infusion, the retrovirus did its trick with the new material — replicating quickly throughout the body, essentially curing the child of the disease. William A. Haseltine, Forbes, 12 May 2021 This uses a harmless virus, usually a retrovirus, that is modified to produce the same external envelope of carbohydrates and proteins as the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, 24 Aug. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'retrovirus.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of retrovirus

1975, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for retrovirus

New Latin

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The first known use of retrovirus was in 1975

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Last Updated

5 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Retrovirus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for retrovirus


ret·​ro·​vi·​rus | \ ˈre-trō-ˌvī-rəs How to pronounce retrovirus (audio) \

Medical Definition of retrovirus

: any of the family Retroviridae of single-stranded RNA viruses

called also RNA tumor virus

Other Words from retrovirus

retroviral \ -​rəl How to pronounce retrovirus (audio) \ adjective
retrovirally \ -​ē How to pronounce retrovirus (audio) \ adverb

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