This subfield of Microbiology is the study of biological viruses, including how they infect cells and the disease process and treatment. The Virologist is an expert on the structure, function, and means of classification of many known viruses. He is also familiar with the pathalogical effects of viruses and means of replication, including their attachment, penetration, and uncoating phases. He is highly knowledgeable about the immune defenses of creatures and the control and treatment of viral infections. A virologist can also study their genetic structure in an effort to gain clues about their nature. A graduate in virology can ask for can specialize in specific viral categories and even a specific strain. 

Virology, a branch of medical sciences, deals with viruses and viral diseases. It includes the structure, classification and evolution of viruses and the ways to infect and exploit cells for virus reproduction at the molecular level.

Nature of Work

  • Collecting samples for study.
  • Identifying different viruses and their properties, through microscopic examination.
  • Observing the effect viruses have on organic matter by studying the impact of the viral infection on living tissues of humans and animals.
  • Determining how viral diseases like HIV, SARS, and hepatitis spread through populations.
  • Study growth, structure, development, and general characteristics of viruses,
  • Use and develop techniques to isolate and culture viruses.
  • Perform chemical analyses of substances produced by viruses and studying their effects on organic matter.
  • Mostly spend time in the laboratory

Specializations in Virology

Some specialize in a particular virus, or plant viruses or veterinary viruses or human viruses. Other areas of specialization include, Infectious Disease, Biological Warfare, HIV, Viral Vectors & Gene Therapy, Viral Oncology and Immunology, Molecular Biology and Pathology, Retroviruses and Tumor Suppressing Viruses. Some virologists study the composition and function of newly discovered antiviral compounds.

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Job opportunities after a degree in virology

  • Hospitals
  • Medical research companies
  • Medical colleges
  • Pharmaceutical companies, and
  • Cancer treatment centers
  • A high proportion of graduates proceeds to PhD study, or, if medically qualified, to clinical practice or research

Qualities Required

  • A solid background in life science or biochemistry is very important
  • Scientific Aptitude
  • Accuracy and attention to detail is essential.
  • Excellent record-keeping is critical.
  • Exceptional problem-solving skills.
  • Ability to multitask and work to tight deadlines.