What's a virus to do when it finds itself in an inhospitable environment such as hot water? Coating itself in glass seems to not only provide protection, but may also make it easier to jump to a more favorable location to spread.
Researchers led by a group from the Center for Life in Extreme Environments at Portland State University recently coated four different virus types in silica, a glassy substance found in certain types of hot springs. Three of the four viruses studied took on a silica coating and went into hibernation, reactivating when the coating was removed.
Very interesting article. Makes me think about the Tholians who are a crystaline based entity. Perhaps the virus would shed its silica shell over time where each new generation of Tholians built upon the last until the Virus became a fully sentient life form.
There's your proof Grand Lunar of the possibility of the Tholian race being possible.