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Description of an organism's ability to display some minimum degree of homeostasis, metabolic competence, and, particularly for microorganisms, reproduction.
The concept of being alive often is limited to describing that state as it exists within cellular organisms, with such entities as viruses often not considered to be alive. Viruses, though, can be viable in the sense of being able to reproduce. Often, though, the term inactivated is used to describe what otherwise one might consider to be virus death.
Notwithstanding the above considerations, alive often can be viewed as the opposite of dead, with death implying a loss of homeostasis, loss of metabolic competence, and/or, especially for microorganisms, loss of an ability to reproduce.
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