Viruses and Viral DiseasesEmerging threats to humans and animals

Published October 2007 Updated January 2015 23 lectures
Prof. Peter Palese
Mount Sinai School of Medicine, USA

Viruses have been with us for all of our recorded history (and long before). In fact, smallpox, measles and influenza pandemics have had major effects on the course of human civilization. This continuing impact of viruses and viral diseases is also evidenced by the emergence of HIV 25 years ago,... read moreand it is likely that new viral diseases will continue to emerge in the future.

A new dimension in this ongoing relationship between viruses and hosts is the possibility of the deliberate release of viral biothreat agents. While vaccination has resulted in great progress, such as the eradication of smallpox, the near eradication of poliomyelitis, and the virtual elimination of many childhood diseases in the developed world, major challenges remain. The advances in our understanding of virus replication on a molecular level have been spectacular, and the work of virologists has had a major impact on many other fields, including cancer, neurology and cell biology. Thus, there is a sound scientific basis on which to build strategies for future discoveries.

The main emphasis in this series is on viruses of medical importance and interest. The mechanisms of replication and pathogenesis of viruses will be discussed, as well as new approaches for immunization, antiviral therapy, diagnostics and public health measures.