cough won't go away can't stop coughing SARS Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome bronchitis pneumonia can't shake this 

cough weird cough unusual cough persistent tickle cough coughing epidemic Los Angeles
The A-B-C Remedy
Vitamin A makes mucous membranes very difficult for viruses to penetrate; B vitamins in foods give the tools to fight off infections; vitamin C keeps cell membranes tough so viruses can't penetrate. Taken together, A, B and C give you a triple whammy for getting rid of your cough.

Vitamin A B C cough wont stop incurable Get your Car or Truck...UNSTUCK!
Lions Grip
Traction Pads tm


News Articles
Retinyl Palmitate?


Adelle Davis Revisited
First Lady of nutriton
Composition of Foods
the contents of a food
Infectious Diseases
current international report
Center for Disease Control
Food & Drug Admin

World Health Org

Wiki general discussion

New Web Surfer?

Return to
Main Menu

Vitamin A B C cough wont stop incurable Get your Car or Truck
Lions Grip
Traction Pads tm

The A-B-C Remedy:

Vitamins A, B and C, taken in a specific way, have gotten rid of my cough (after suffering for four years), as well as the same cough in my family, among neighbors, and for several people who have read this website. I took A, B and C in unique ways, due in part because a friend told me a nutritionist MD advised her to take 100,000 units of A for her recurring pneumonia, which cured her of it. (More on this to follow.) These methods are unusual, but then, this is an unusual situation, with a seemingly-incurable infection that is attacking people everywhere.

Please note that vitamin A can be man-made in laboratories, a form that is called palmitate, which can be toxic. But natural vitamin A is derived directly from fish liver oil, which the scientific medical literature says is not toxic unless one takes something like a million units in one dose (see The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2003 Dec;78(6):1152-9). (This would be about 140 pills of 10,000 units each.) And even if one did take this much, the only toxic effects likely to occur are some itching and/or mild hair loss, which disappear as soon as the vitamin A is stopped.

Of course, in this ABC remedy, I use only vitamin A that is derived "from fish liver oil" as stated on the bottle. NOTE: this is not "fish oil" which one takes for Omega-3 benefit. Read more on vitamin A toxicity

My first success with The Cough came when I got fed up one night at 3 AM, waking my husband up with my coughing. Remembering a friend's story of advice from her nutritionally-trained MD, telling her to take 100,000 units of vitamin A to knock out her pneumonia, I took 70,000 units of vitamin A, and for good measure, I took it with a half teaspoon (2 grams) of powdered vitamin C. The Cough disappeared in about 10 minutes! That horrible tickle in the throat just evaporated, for the first time in 4 years.

I slept soundly for the next several hours. The Cough returned about 7AM, and I repeated the same dose. Again I could feel the tickle in my throat just disappear a few minutes afterward. This time the Cough didn't return until late afternoon, if I recall correctly (it's been decades, and I've never been plagued by the Cough again). I repeated the dose, with less A (I think I took about 40,000 this time), and the Cough was gone for the rest of the day and that night.

A couple more days of this regimen, and I got the doses down to 50,000 units of A three times a day, always with the C. Less than three times a day didn't do it, but with three times a day, I kept the Cough totally controlled.

But, while this controlled it, it didn't cure it. In another year, I discovered the need for B vitamins from whole foods.

B vitamins help cells to divide, and give them energy. Thus it is the B vitamins that really boost the fight against infections, by ramping up the production of antibodies in our systems. The B's also give the cells energy, which is vital to fighting off infections. When even a few B vitamins are lacking in the body, infections can thrive.

However, since B vitamins work together, and ALL of them are needed, B's in pills cannot be relied on for any length of time (say, more than 6 months or so). Pills contain only a fraction of all the natural B vitamins occurring in nature. And tragically, B vitamin pills can create B vitamin deficiencies of the absent B vitamins! So, to get the B's, one must do two things: eat the "B-Rich foods," and avoid the B-Robbers, the things, so ubiquitous in modern American life, that rob us of our B vitamins. When I did this, I immediately (next day) developed a powerful cold --- showing that my body had been unable to fight off this lingering infection without natural spectrum of B vitamins. When the cold cleared up, my Cough was totally obliterated, never to return.

The ABC Remedy is in 2 parts:

First step ~ I take Vitamins A and C together to strengthen the mucous linings of the throat and lungs, and mop up the toxins caused by the virus
The Cough is controlled, and the lungs are strengthened.

Second step ~ A rich, natural assortment of myriad B vitamins, is obtained from special foods that civilization has discarded; this revs up the body's production of white blood cells and many, many other infection-fighting processes
The Cough is eliminated!

The lungs, bronchial tubes, mouth, nose, and internal body cavities, are lined with mucous membranes. If these membranes are strong, microorganisms can't penetrate them. Both vitamin A and vitamin C cause the mucous membranes to strengthen up, and quickly. The C also mops up toxins in the body. Viruses make toxins as they destroy cells; perhaps this toxin-mopping effect lessens the viruses' ability to function. For whatever reason, taking them together in this fashion did something amazing. The Cough, and its horrible tickle in the chest, disappeared in a few minutes after taking the A and C in the way described below. I slept, uninterrupted, for several hours. The tickle then returned. I repeated the dosage, and again it disappeared. Eventually, I was able to completely control the cough with the A and C alone. But, it wasn't a cure. A year later, I discovered that I also needed the complete spectrum of B vitamins. (Continued below.)

First Step: A & C

I take 1/2 teaspoon of crystalline powder vitamin C (about 2 grams; available at Trader Joe's), in half a glass of juice, and use it to swallow about 8 capsules of vitamin A, at 10,000 units per capsule (from "Fish Liver Oil" ONLY). I repeat this dose every time the horrible throat tickle returns. At first, it was every few hours. After a few days, I needed this dose a minimum of 3 times per day. If I tried to reduce it to twice a day, the cough returned.


I have always taken a C-Complex pill daily. Without the associated nutrients, straight vitamin C does not work nearly as well. I learned this from a friend who had severe spontaneous bruising. Without C-Complex, vitamin C did not affect her bruising, but with it, the bruising was eliminated. Trader Joe's "Vitamin C Complex" works well for me, containing 200 mg lemon bioflavonoids, 24 mg hesperidin, 50 mg rutin, per pill.

Here's what happened to me (at about 3:30 am one desperate coughing Winter night):

I remembered a friend, a mother of three closely-spaced children, who had had pneumonia every winter. Her courageous, knowledgeable MD had prescribed that she take 100,000 units of A for three days, then reduce it to about 50,000 units per day. That had knocked out her pneumonia almost immediately. "That's it!" I said to myself. "I'm trying it!" After years of coughing, I was ready to try this high amount of A. I had extra confidence to try the high dose of A, thanks to Adelle Davis's statement that no study had ever proven that fish-liver-oil vitamin A is toxic.

Along with the A, I used powdered crystalline vitamin C, containing 2 grams of C per half teaspoon. Each capsule of A contains 10,000 iu ("units") of A. On the bottle, it must say that the A is from "fish liver oil." I measured 1/2 teaspoon of the C into a small glass of water. (I now use juice.) With this, I swallowed 8 capsules of the A, and finished off the C-water. Amazingly, the Cough and its horrible throat tickle disappeared in about 15 minutes! For the first time in 3 years! I finally got some sound sleep. The cough returned a couple hours later. I took the same dose of A and C again. The cough disappeared again, quicker this time. I kept taking that same dose the next day, about 4 more times. The cough was thoroughly controlled by this. I had absolutely no side effects from this much A. Doctors will tell you this much A could be very dangerous for you..... Sure it could, unless it's from fish liver oil!

I was thrilled! A way to control the cough! Over the next few days, I kept reducing the dosage amounts, and taking it less and less often. I found I could not take the A&C less that 3 times in 24 hours. Taking the A&C two times in 24 hours just wouldn't control my cough.

NOTE: When the Cough is eliminated entirely, one should reduce the daily amount of Vitamin A. Furthermore, when taking vitamin A, it is highly recommended to take Vitamin D, also from fish liver oil, along with the vitamin A.

I continued the A&C three times a day for the next year and more, always with the same 1/2 teaspoon of C, but varying the A depending on how I felt. Sometimes a couple of coughs would return, not that bothersome, but enough to let me know it was rearing its ugly head. Then I'd take upwards of 5 to 8 vitamin A capsules with the C, or increase the frequency of the vitamins. Everyone's vitamin requirements vary a lot; each person must figure out what dosage and timing is right for them.

Before putting up this website, I had helped a neighbor of mine and good friend, an elderly woman so wracked with the cough that she could never go out at all, though she used to go out frequently. I hadn't seen her for almost a year. Her husband, a vitamin pooh-pooh-er, came to me finally and said, "I'll try anything." I told him about my A&C discovery. He said he'd like her to try it. I wrote her the dose I take, and gave her some A and C. The very next night, she joined 15 of us in a dine-out at a restaurant. She did have to leave the table, after we started on dessert, for a one-time brief coughing spell. But other than that, she thoroughly enjoyed the evening, and her food, cough-free. So, knowing that the A&C worked for someone besides myself, I had confidence that I should tell others about it who were suffering as I had been.

Since that time, I've received several testimonies from people who have tried my food remedies for the Cough and got rid of it, some after years of suffering.

Second Step: THE NATURAL B'S

Dosing up on "B-Rich Foods" while avoiding the "B-Robbers"

The natural B's are found in seed foods and liver and some other organ meats. There are many, many B vitamins, and they occur together and work together "synergistically." Deficiencies in a few of them cause the others not to be effective. Pills cannot possibly contain all the B vitamins. Also, if one takes B vitamins in pills, one runs the risk of creating DEFICIENCIES in the B vitamins that are absent.

By far the best way to get B vitamins is from B-rich foods, the very ones that modern food-producing and marketing methods have virtually eliminated from our diet.

Especially rich are liver, raw wheat germ, raw sunflower seeds, flax seeds, blackstrap molasses, and plain yogurt (NOT sweetened). To get a full assortment of B's into myself quickly, I made a tiny bowl of whole grain cereal (I used uncooked instant oatmeal flakes, about 2 tablespoons, but any all-whole-grain cereal will do, such as shredded wheat, grape nuts --- but not any with sugar in the ingredients list!). To this I added a mixture of ground up sunflower seeds (used a coffee grinder) and raw wheat germ, equal amounts of both. I put about 2 tablespoons of this mixture over the oat flakes. Then I drizzled Blackstrap molasses over it --- no other sweetener. Blackstrap molasses has had most of the sugar removed. Other types of molasses are still full of sugar. I added milk, and enjoyed it. I followed this with several good gulps of the plain yogurt. Adelle Davis called yogurt "a virtual B-vitamin factory in your intestines." Of course, commercially-sweetened yogurt usually isn't live, so it won't produce B vitamins. Later, I cooked up and devoured about 1/2 pound of naturally-raised beef liver and onions.

I stopped using all white flour products, white rice, sugar, and alcohol, as these quickly use up the B vitamins in the body. Also, I haven't used B-vitamin pills or pills containing them for years, but if I did, I would stop taking them for the above reasons.

I ate the B cereal and liver twice a day for 2 days, then needed it less and less frequently. After the second day, I came down with a full-blown cold, as strong and snotty as when I was a kid, showing that my body finally could fight off the infection that was causing the Cough. When the cold cleared up, the incurable Cough was entirely gone, and did not return.

Ideas on how to "B" Yourself; what foods have B's, and how to prepare them

While the A-C dose had kept my Cough completely under control, it did not eliminate it. To do that, I needed the natural B vitamins from food sources. It took me another year to figure this out!

I had wondered often about why the A&C would control the cough, but not cure it. By chance I found a copy of Adelle Davis's older book, Vitality Through Planned Nutrition. On page 180 I read:

"Vitamin-B complex and infections No single vitamin of the B complex alone appears to build resistance to infection. In experiments the University of Toronto, however, one group of rats was given a diet only slightly deficient in the vitamins of the B complex. Another group was fed the identical diet except that generous amounts of these B vitamins were supplied. In both groups, growth was normal, and the animals appeared to be healthy. But, when all of the animals were fed disease-producing bacteria, only 20 per cent of the group which was somewhat deficient in the B vitamins survived, contrasted with 87 per cent of the group which had been fed these vitamins in more generous proportions. People suffering from deficiencies of the B complex have low resistance to infections." [emphasis mine]

The light went on!!! THAT'S WHY my husband has never gotten the cough, it suddenly occurred to me. My husband and I always eat together, always the same foods. But he never adds sugar to anything, and snacks on raw sunflower seeds like they're going out of style, while I would take another cup of coffee, with sugar, and rarely any sunflower seeds. That was the difference! He was dosing up on B-rich food, and avoiding B-robbers, while I was doing the exact opposite.

I read a bit farther, then I looked up the B-vitamin contents of various foods. We had many of them in the kitchen already! I immediately went to the cupboard, and got some shredded wheat breakfast cereal. I put some sunflower seeds into the blender, and sprinkled them on. I sprinkled on some raw wheat germ (we had all this on hand, I just didn't know I needed it). After adding milk, I sweetened it with some molasses we had around. When I finished the cereal, I ate a few big spoons of plain yogurt, followed by some more milk for the yogurt bacteria to grow in in my intestines.

By that evening, I was buzzing around clearing off all my deskwork. "What's happening to me?" I thought. "I never have this much energy and concentration!" Then I remembered the B-Rich cereal I'd eaten that afternoon. The next day, I came down with a HUGE cold, just like the kind I used to get as a youngster. It lasted a week, and when it cleared up, my cough was Gone Gone Gone! I no longer needed the A&C dosage. I was cough-free. I caught that cold on New Year's Day, 2002. My cough has never returned in that uncontrollable fashion.

The B's are an amazing group of compounds. They are involved in making cells grow, in energy production, in health of the nervous system, in skin health, and myriad other functions. A lack of any of the B's can cause the body's energy to drop. The B-foods work --- they kicked out my Cough and it has not come back.

The world is becoming very deficient in B vitamins, an increasing global deficiency due to the widespread milling of grains, combined with giving up the old ways of eating organ meats, whole grains, using the wheat germ and rice polish, along with ever-increasing, industry-driven sugar consumption. Sugar, white flour and white rice --- now eaten in huge quantities, and on a daily and continually-increasing basis --- quickly use up the B's in the body.

The B's need to be obtained in the full, natural, living spectrum of compounds that occur together in certain foods. The B's all work together --- getting some B's and not others tends to build up deficiencies in the ones you don't obtain. Some of the B's have not been discovered yet, so B vitamin pills cannot possibly contain all the B vitamins, no matter what they claim. Supremely ironic is the fact that B vitamin pills can actually be making you deficient in the as-yet-unknown B vitamins! (To read more on the B vitamins, see our affiliate website, Adelle Davis Revisited. Better yet, buy her books!)

This process of getting re-saturated with natural B's is what seemed to totally eliminate my Cough. It is fairly simple, once the situation is understood. You will have to make some big changes in sugar and white flour/white rice consumption, as well as adding B-foods to the diet in large quantities for several days. Once you get rid of your Cough, you can probably return to having some sugar. You will have to figure that out for yourself. Every time I have a sugary dessert, the tickle in my throat becomes unpleasant, and often I have to cough!

The B-richest foods are liver, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, molasses, and plain yogurt.

Sweetened yogurt has been "killed" --- plain yogurt has living, beneficial bacterial which grow B vitamins in your intestines --- always take some milk when you take yogurt, to grow the good bacteria and make a B-vitamin factory inside you!

Basically, you just get as much natural B vitamins as you can, and at the same time, you eliminate as completely as possible all the things that are draining you of B vitamins.

For many people, this will be as simple as giving up sugar, honey and alcohol entirely for a few days, and taking B-foods several times a day, in combination. (See below for ideas.)

If you try this ABC approach for a few days, I think you will find your Cough greatly improved, or, hopefully, eliminated.

More Details

Vitamin A keeps the body's mucous membranes, which line the nose, mouth, lungs and all internal cavities and organs, strong. Mucous membranes are covered with, and continually secrete, a mildly-antiseptic clear mucous that constantly washes away the bacteria and microorganisms that enter the body. When vitamin A is undersupplied, or there is not enough to meet the demands of an infection, the mucous membranes become dry and slough off, making clots of dead cells in the lungs and elsewhere, something like dandruff. Bacteria quickly get a foothold, and grow voluminously in these conditions.

During infections, the need for vitamin A skyrockets.

Quote: "During all infections and most illnesses, the body's need for vitamin A is greatly increased. That the stored supply is quickly exhausted is shown by the fact that abnormally small amounts of the vitamin are found in the blood of persons suffering from infections. Blood vitamin A is particularly low in diseases of the liver and kidney, during tuberculosis, pneumonia, and colitis." Vitality Through Planned Nutrition, 1948, p. 127.

About Vitamin C

Crystalline vitamin C, dissolved in water or juice, will behave very differently in the body from C in pill form. The crystalline C enters the bloodstream very quickly, and somehow operates much more efficiently against disease in many instances. Without going into detail here, we will simply recommend that this Remedy be tried only with the crystalline C until one gets a chance to experiment further with other forms of C. Vitamin C, like vitamin A, makes cells strong and resistant to invasion by foreign organisms. It strengthens the "cement" that bonds all of the body's cells together.

Linus Pauling explained how cancers are able to invade surrounding tissues: all cancer tumors secrete a substance that destroys the vitamin C in surrounding tissues. A localized scurvy occurs, which is a virtual dissolving of the tissues, which enables the cancer tumor to grow out into the body. Vitamin C in high enough doses will prevent some of this scurvy from occurring, thus restricting the tumor's growth. The simple administration of vitamin C to cancer patients saves 10% of otherwise terminally ill cancer patients, Pauling reported.

Buying Vitamins

The C crystals are available at Trader Joe's for $10 for two pounds (approximately 1 kg), or in health food stores for about triple that price. The Vitamin A from fish liver oil is available from almost every health food store, for about $3 a bottle. Any A you buy must be totally from fish liver oil, not artificial ("retinyl palmitate"), which can be toxic. If it does not have the words "fish liver oil" on the bottle, or if it's a blend of "fish liver oil" and "retinyl palmitate," I would not try the ABC Remedy with it.

Just to be safe, however, pregnant women should be extremely careful of their Vitamin A intake. Read everything you can about it, and read Adelle Davis. Read the many customer reviews of Adelle Davis's research. Buy her best book, Let's Eat Right to Keep Fit, at's Adelle Davis page

How to "B-Rich and not B-Robbed" ~~ Some Pointers

1. Few foods are rich in B vitamins, though all life contains some of them. Man's universal source of B vitamins for thousands of years has been whole grains and organ meats. But today, we now mill our staple grains -- wheat and rice -- around the globe. We throw away the B-rich brown parts that contain the entire spectrum of B vitamins, while consuming more and more white flour and white rice. Grains are our traditional sources of B vitamins, and we have eradicated them almost completely.

2. B vitamins are used up as the body produces energy from starches and sugars. We are consuming inordinately large quantities of vitamin-robbed carbohydrates, with the amounts growing week by week: pasta, bread, bakery goods, white rice. Sugar consumption continues to rise like the use of an addictive drug. Milled grains and sugar do a double-whammy on any B vitamins in the body: (1) they speed up the metabolism, causing the B's to be used up, and (2) they take the place of our traditional diet rich in whole grains which should be supplying B's, the entire spectrum of B's in their natural form, on a daily basis.

3. We most likely have not yet identified all the B vitamins that exist. B vitamins work synergistically, that is, they all work together, and are needed in a complete spectrum, not just a few here and there. Further, a constant or large supply of one or a few B's over time can cause a deficiency of the missing B vitamins. If there are B vitamins that have not yet been discovered, and one takes a preparation of the ones that have been discovered for a lengthy period of time, one stands to get a deficiency in the missing B vitamins. So, taking B vitamin supplements, ironically, combined with the deleterious effects of milled grains and continual sugar consumption, may be producing B vitamin deficiencies in a huge proportion of the civilized public.

Whenever Adelle Davis mentions using a B vitamin supplement (in the early days of her writing, they were called "extracts"), that these supplements must be taken together with foods containing the whole, natural spectrum of B's. She often stresses that it is far more preferable to get the B vitamins from natural food sources than from synthetic preparations. She also points out that it is unwise to try to to correct a symptom with just a single B vitamin.

4. Foods that contain the whole spectrum of B vitamins are rarely consumed in many so-called "advanced" countries today. Liver is the best source, in terms of quantity and types of B vitamins it contains. We already mentioned grains, nuts and seeds. Perhaps only 1/3rd of the California public consumes nuts and seeds with any frequency, with the exception of peanuts, which may or may not have a really complete spectrum of B's.

Teachers who are curious can find out who really likes nuts and seeds in their classrooms. The ones who do, and whose families have nuts and seeds readily available in the home, are, as a group, usually of ideal weight and far healthier, than the rest of their class. In fact, among children who can describe what a nut-cracker is, there may not be one overweight kid.

Beans have B vitamins, also, in quantity somewhat less than the grains. Probably, beans and grains go together in B vitamins similarly to the ways they go together in amino acid types and quantities, i.e., they probably complement each other naturally. Beans and grains occur naturally together in the wild: the beans use the grains for climbing poles, while the grains thrive on the nitrogen that the beans give to the soil. A walk in a naturally-balanced meadow will show you bean flowers thrusting up everywhere among the stiff-standing grains.

Brewer's yeast is another often-discarded byproduct that is extremely rich in the B vitamins. But today, almost every brand of brewer's yeast is found to contain synthetic B's, added to boost the score-card of amounts and types contained therein. It is very hard to obtain the unadulterated brewer's yeast. So, the same situation applies as with supplements: taking brewer's yeast with added synthetic B vitamins may build up deficiencies in the ones that are not in the preparation.

Molasses is likewise very rich in B vitamins. The sugar is crystallized out of it, and what remains is the nutrient rich part. Blackstrap molasses has had much more of the sugar removed, and thus is better for using as a food additive. For years, molasses with added thiamin (which is destroyed by heat) was used as a childhood vitamin supplement.

How many people eat liver, kidney, heart, 100% whole wheat bread without added sweeteners to rob the body of the B vitamins, brown rice, whole wheat spaghetti cooked by the waterless method so the B's aren't thrown out with the cooking water, whole wheat pizza crust, whole wheat pancakes, wheat germ, rice polish, unadulterated brewer's yeast, sunflower seeds, nuts and freshly-cooked beans on a daily basis? And at the same time limit their intake of sugar to once a week or so? Probably not one of you readers can say you eat this way. If so, please let me know! I'd like to compare notes.

This is the way one must eat if one wants to build optimum health. One must feast on the B-vitamin rich foods for several days, and then, after health has returned, continue to use B-rich foods regularly, and avoid the B-robbers except on special occasion.

Click here for the B YOURSELF regimen

Our Sponsor

vitamin A B C cough won't go away can't stop coughing bronchitis 

pneumonia can't shake this cough weird cough unusual cough persistent tickle cough coughing epidemic Los Angeles

Adelle Davis' Great Book
Let's Eat Right to Keep Fit



Acute: Characterized by sharpness or severity; having a sudden onset, sharp rise, and short duration; seriously demanding urgent attention

Bacterium (Plural = Bacteria): Any of a class (Schizomycetes) of microscopic plants having round, rodlike, spiral, or filamentous single-celled or noncellular bodies often aggregated into colonies or motile by means of flagella, living in soil, water, organic matter, or the bodies of plants and animals, and being autotrophic, saprophytic, or parasitic in nutrition and important to man because of their chemical effects and as pathagens.

Bronchitis: An acute or chronic inflammation of the bronchial tubes, or a disease marked by this.

Bronchial tube: A bronchus or any of its branches.

Bronchioles: The tiniest brochial tubes in the lungs; there are about 30,000 of them in each lung; each one is about the thickness of a hair

Bronchus: Either of the two primary divisions of the trachea that lead respectively into the right and left lung.

Chronic: Marked by long duration or frequent recurrence; not acute

Cough: A symptom, not a disease. A reflex action that tries to clear the lungs. At least one online MD recommends getting a chest x-ray if one has a cough for 6 weeks, even if a doctor has used a stethoscope and pronounced the lungs "clear."

Epidemic: Affecting, or tending to affect, many individuals within a population, community, or region, at the same time; excessively prevalent

Inflammation: A local response to cellular injury that is marked by capillary dilatation, leukocytic infiltration, redness, heat, and pain and that serves as a mechanism initiating the elimination of noxious agents and of damaged tissue; when tissues are damaged or otherwise attacked, blood cells rush to the area to bring healing and remove damaged tissue, causing swelling, and also causing blockage of circulation

Trachea: The main trunk of the system of tubes by which air passes to and from the lungs in vertebrates.

Virus: Any of a large group of submicroscopic infective agents that are regarded either as the simplest microorganisms or as extremely complex molecules, that typically contain a protein coast surrounding an RNA or DNA core of genetic material, that are capable of growth and multiplication only in living cells, and that cause various important diseases in man, lower animals, or plants.