Diagnostic virology and patient care: from vaguely interesting to vitally important

Sarah Pitt, Ian M. Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The existence of pathogenic viruses was inferred by experiments at the turn of the twentieth century. Key developments in detection of viruses, including electron microscopy and monolayer cell culture, were made in the middle of that century. However, in terms of patient care, the results from the virology laboratory often arrived the patient was ‘better or dead’. The advent of molecular techniques, particularly polymerase chain reaction and more recently whole genome sequencing made timely and accurate diagnosis of viral infections feasible. A range of approaches have been taken to identify and characterise new viruses. Vaccines against viruses have made it possible to eliminate two pathogenic mammalian viruses altogether, with several others close to eradication. The role of rking in diagnostic virology ismore relevant to patient care than ever.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-23
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Biomedical Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2017

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in British Journal of Biomedical Science on 16/02/2017, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/09674845.2016.1264706


  • Virology
  • diagnosis
  • discovery
  • elimination
  • serology
  • sequencing
  • point of care testing


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