What's your recommended text to understand virology for bio/biomed/biochem research?

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MindMax2000
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I haven't seen any undergrad or master's degrees that specialise in virology. I don't intend to make it a career to do research in the field (my hands are full at the moment doing other things), but if I want to read more about the subject, sufficient to understand the research (not do, since I won't have the lab experience), what would I need to read to get the necessary background reading?

At the moment, the current means of treating viral infections is via vaccines, which I am not a fan of. I was wondering whether there is more specific information regarding the genetic and chemical makeup of viruses in particular, beyond what Wikipedia has to offer.

Thanks.
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QuentinM
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(Original post by MindMax2000)
I haven't seen any undergrad or master's degrees that specialise in virology. I don't intend to make it a career to do research in the field (my hands are full at the moment doing other things), but if I want to read more about the subject, sufficient to understand the research (not do, since I won't have the lab experience), what would I need to read to get the necessary background reading?

At the moment, the current means of treating viral infections is via vaccines, which I am not a fan of. I was wondering whether there is more specific information regarding the genetic and chemical makeup of viruses in particular, beyond what Wikipedia has to offer.

Thanks.
There wouldn't be undergraduate degrees in virology as its too specific, it would be part of a microbiology degree. Masters degrees again would focus on microbiology or infection/immunity.

I'm no microbiologist myself but I don't need to be to tell you viral infections are not treated with vaccines, they are prevented with them. There are a range of drugs that can actually treat viral infections, acting in various ways like inhibiting viral replication etc. Out of interest why are you "not a fan" of vaccines?

I'd check any general microbiology textbook, they should have the information you are looking for
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MindMax2000
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(Original post by QuentinM)
There wouldn't be undergraduate degrees in virology as its too specific, it would be part of a microbiology degree. Masters degrees again would focus on microbiology or infection/immunity.

I'm no microbiologist myself but I don't need to be to tell you viral infections are not treated with vaccines, they are prevented with them. There are a range of drugs that can actually treat viral infections, acting in various ways like inhibiting viral replication etc. Out of interest why are you "not a fan" of vaccines?

I'd check any general microbiology textbook, they should have the information you are looking for
Thanks.

Although I can see the use of vaccines as a preventative measure, I'm not a fan of them because it's essentially a means of making your body recognise dead viruses. It's not an actual cure for viruses.

I'm not a biologist by any definition, but I'm keen to know more about the nature of things we should be able to cure.
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QuentinM
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(Original post by MindMax2000)
Thanks.

Although I can see the use of vaccines as a preventative measure, I'm not a fan of them because it's essentially a means of making your body recognise dead viruses. It's not an actual cure for viruses.

I'm not a biologist by any definition, but I'm keen to know more about the nature of things we should be able to cure.
Vaccines are never meant to be a cure for viruses, as I said before their purpose is to try and prevent infection, or serious infection in many cases. A lot of diseases we currently vaccinate against don't have their own treatments (or good ones at least). The only time vaccines are meant to be used as actual treatments is in diseases such as cancer, where they can in theory be used to train your immune system to tackle a tumour you currently have, but none have yet been approved for this purpose.

I think there is a fundamental misunderstanding about the different things certain medications can do here. Some are used to prevent people getting diseases-this includes vaccines but can include, for example, taking anti-malarial medication when you enter a high prevalence area for malaria so try and prevent getting the disease full blown. Some are used to treat the symptoms for a disease to make it easier to live with (for example, replacing lost dopamine in Parkinson's disease). Finally you have drugs that can "cure", or "rid you" of diseases-good examples include antibiotics, which help clear bacteria out of your body. Again, vaccines are never meant to "cure" infections diseases, but to prevent you getting them in the first place, or to make sure you respond quicker and don't get severe disease. Take for example the annual flu vaccine-if you get the flu before getting vaccinated, they don't give you the vaccine to cure you, they give you anti-viral drugs (for flu this is "oseltamivir", which reduces how many viruses can invade your cells).

Not all vaccines work using "dead viruses", although I'm not sure what your issue is with this? These dead/weakened viruses can produce an immune response without the usual infection you get if you actually get infected with something, which sounds like an incredibly desirable outcome to me (though I am speaking as someone who has received almost every type of vaccine available if you exclude flu). More modern methods include RNA vaccines, where cells are injected with RNA molecules encoding some of the outer proteins of a virus. These force your cells to temporarily make proteins viruses have on their outsides, so you produce an immune response with no threat whatsoever of an actual infection.

In terms of what things we "should be able to cure", its important to understand what a "cure" is-a treatment that should completely remove an underlying disease causing agent (e.g. genetic mutation, bacteria, virus) that can allow people to go back to living a "normal" life. In theory, the vast majority of diseases are "curable", but how close we are to getting a cure is the big question-for most diseases we are pretty far off. For example, for type 1 diabetes, sure people can inject insulin daily for the rest of their lives, but a cure would be them never having to inject/swallow pills daily ever again. Based on this, whenever we take a drug to get rid of an infection (more accurately, these drugs usually stop the infection spreading so quick so our immune system can clear it on its own), this could be considered one of the few ways we "cure" things at the moment.

I know there's a lot there, hopefully that makes some sense though
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