3 x 50-minute lectures weekly
1 x 50-minute tutorial weekly
3 x 3-hour practicals per semester
12 x 45-minute on-line exercises per semester
1 of BIOL1102, BIOL2702, BIOL1203
Topic description
Viruses have enormous relevance across society. This topic provides students with a basic working knowledge of virology that can be applied in a broad range of disciplines, including microbiology, medicine, marine biology, public health, and biotechnology.The topic examines: the basics of virology - what is a virus? Viral classification, nomenclature, taxonomy. Viral strategies for attachment and entry. Viral strategies for replication, using as examples: herpes, pox, picorna-, orthomyxo-, reo- and retorviruses. Plant virology. Marine viruses: the single largest pool of biodiversity on earth. Viral strategies for pathogenesis and immune evasion. Viral latency. Viral ecology: epidemic and endemic persistence in populations. Viral evolution, as seen in influenza, HIV. Immune responses to viral infection. Intervention strategies, including vaccination and antivirals. Detection of viruses. Prion infectivity. Viruses shaping society, for example by epidemics or as objects of war or bioterrorism. Medically important viruses, including viruses and cancer, HIV/AIDS. Sexually transmitted viruses Viruses as gene delivery vectors.
Educational aims
  1. To familiarise students with basic concepts in virology: definition of a virus, classification of viruses, types of viral genomes, viral replication strategies, viral strategies for persistence, viral evolution
  2. To familiarise students with the strategies used to contain, control, and intervene in viral infections, and the means used to detect viral infections
  3. To give examples of the importance of viruses in a wide variety of situations and environments
  4. To give students perspectives on the approaches necessary to conduct cutting-edge virology research
Expected learning outcomes
At the completion of the topic, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Understand viral structure, viral taxonomy, types of viral genomes, viral replication strategies
  2. Understand the many different ways in which viruses cause disease
  3. Understand viral strategies for persistence, both in infected individuals and in populations such as Endemic vs epidemic spread, Viral evolution
  4. Understand the Relevance of viral infection to plants, animals, marine organisms, viruses and medicine
  5. Understand immune responses to viral infections in mammals, and how viruses evade immune responses
  6. Understand strategies for containing and controlling viral infections such as hygiene, public health measures, vaccination, antiviral drugs
  7. Have enhanced oral and written communication skills