When an organism is infected by a virus, an immune response occurs that affects the host and attacks its health. The virology is responsible for studying how it is transmitted, develops and multiplies this infectious process . Similarly, virology encompasses the study of antiviral vaccines, diagnostic techniques, and viral clinical signs that reveal the presence of a virus in an organism.


How Viruses Are Studied

  • Primary Culture
  • Cell strain
  • Cellphone line
  • Physicochemical method

What is virology?

Virology, considered a branch of microbiology, is responsible for studying viruses and viral agents. In this sense, this science allows us to understand the functioning and development of viruses and classifies them. Likewise, virology studies the diseases produced by viruses and their relationship with the host and its culture, which allows the adoption of preventive measures and isolation mechanisms in order to avoid epidemics.


In summary, among the points of greatest interest in virology we can mention the replication cycle of viruses, viral pathogens, viral immunology and vaccines.

  • History of virology
  • Importance of virology
  • Human virology
  • Veterinary Virology

History of virology

In the 16th century , thanks to the trade in tulips whose flowers had a different pigmentation and appeared mottled, it was discovered that these patterns, which were symptoms of a viral disease, could be transmitted to healthy tulips . Possibly this variety of tulips were infected with the tulip mosaic virus .

Later, in the late 19th century, pharmacist Adolf Eduard Mayer discovered that tobacco mosaic disease could be spread to healthy plants by injecting them with the sap of diseased plants. On the other hand, the Russian scientist Ivanovsky was the one who managed to identify a filterable and microscopic entity that differed from bacteria and that could be the cause of the tobacco mosaic disease. This being the case, he used the term “filterable agent” to refer to this entity before the term “virus” was adopted.

For his part, Beijerinck , a Dutch botanist and microbiologist, confirmed the filterable nature of this virus and realized that the contagious agent was different from the microorganisms that were known until then. He then called it contagium vivum fluidum.

It can then be seen that Mayer, Ivanofsky, and Beijerinck each contributed to the discovery of a filterable agent that could be observed under a microscope and had the ability to proliferate in living cells and cause disease.

In a different vein, two important steps in the history of virology are the standardization of the crystallography technique in 1937 and the inauguration of the electron microscope in 1939, which made it possible to deepen and advance the studies of viruses.

Already in the 1960s, most of the entities that cause the main infectious processes in humans such as polio, rubella, chickenpox, among others, had been identified. Also, by then there were already some vaccines.

Importance of virology

From a biological perspective , it should be noted that all living beings have viruses that parasitize them . From a clinical perspective, it is pertinent to emphasize that thanks to virology, it has been possible to know many viruses responsible for diseases. For example, viruses such as HIV, herpes as well as various types of hepatitis have been discovered Similarly, vaccines have been developed and those that already exist have been improved. In addition, virology has allowed advances in molecular biology .

It should be noted that for some researchers the importance of virology is crucial in the study of problems related to molecular biology, which is why they consider it a science independent of microbiology.

Nowadays, virology has allowed important advances in the field of infectious diseases and molecular biology.

Human virology

Human virology focuses on the aspects related to viral infections in humans and the mechanisms and consequences that these imply in the host. Likewise, she is in charge of studying the diseases produced by viruses in human beings as well as the principles for their detection and diagnosis, the control and treatment strategies. On the other hand, human virology delves into the aspects related to molecular biology since it plays an important role in the discovery of new viruses.

Veterinary Virology

Veterinary virology studies the aspects related to viruses that cause diseases in animals . In this way, the pathogenic processes of each viral family are analyzed and related to their morphological, genomic or replication characteristics. This study covers domestic animals as well as wild animals.

In addition, veterinary virology focuses on the main viral diseases suffered by animal species both from a pathogenic perspective and from a socioeconomic perspective if it is, for example, animals such as livestock.

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