Because when viruses are outside the body of a living organism they show symptoms of non-living things. And as they enter the body of living organism they show symptoms of living things ie:- they replicate. They also contain DNA or RNA which signifies that they are living...
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Viruses are known as acellular or considered to be borderline between living and non- living because the do not show division, and metabolism outside a host but shows all these activities after entering a host ..