Field of Science

Your top 10 questions in virology? Here's some of mine:

Do you want to help organise a virology meeting? Paul Duprex, the chair of the Society for General Microbiology's Virology Division (and also my current PhD supervisor) is asking you guys to help him and the committee set-up the virology symposium in 2014. 

This event will be: "Top 10 questions in Virology". The aim of this is for ordinary people (scientists and non-scientists alike) to put forward a question that they really would like answered. Something which has been niggling at them for sometime now. Something they think is important and needs to be answered soon. 

You will have until the end of this year to get your burning questions in to the society whereby the organisers will compile and select the most worthy of discussion. Here they will select speakers who are actively doing research in that area and they will be asked to come along to the SGM meeting in 2014 and present their work. Hopefully in doing so they will answer whatever question was originally proposed.

To get your questions in, you can do it a number of ways:

You can directly tweet Paul over at, @10queues.

You can tweet in withe hashtag: #10queues

You can also include them in the comments section below and I can forward them to him.

So in anticipation of this - and to stimulate discussion -  I have included below some of my most pressing questions in virology:

  1. How are viruses born and how do they die? (Where do they come from and how do they go extinct?)
  2. Are there any 'good' viruses?
  3. Will virology ever have it's 'penicillin moment'?
  4. Why don't we have a vaccine against HIV yet?
  5. Can we exploit viruses do help us? Medicine and technology.
  6. What is the true ecological role of viruses? At all scales: human body, environment, global.
What do you think?


  1. Related to your question number 1 but the first thing that came to mind: Are newly emerging viral diseases really recently evolved or just a result of improved research techniques to discover them? How long have they been around without getting noticed due to lack of globalization and advances in science/medicine? Are more viral diseases emerging nowadays than in the past?

  2. Good point - certainly in some cases it has to do with improved technologies like metagenomics and sequencing. Other times it may have to do with increased surveillance. But yet I am sure more often than not an entirely novel virus (in the sense of infecting a new species for example) arises. Imagine what happened when the ape virus SIV initially established itself as HIV in the human population. This was not due to better techniques. The rest of your questions should be answered in this symposium!


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