by DrChika

Though they are known to cause plethora of infectious diseases in man, plants and animals; viruses are very useful tools that can be exploited to the benefit of mankind. 

  • Viruses are employed in the development of novel vaccines for the prevention of infectious diseases including those caused by viruses.
  • Some viruses known as phage or bacteriophage that infect bacteria are used in bacterial taxonomy to classify bacteria. This is known as phage typing of bacteria; and in this technique the bacteria is classified based on the type of bacteriophage that they are susceptible to. And this has helped in the epidemiological containment of diseases especially in disease outbreak.
  • Viruses are employed in the production of antiviral drugs and diagnostics used for laboratory diagnosis of some infectious diseases.
  • Some viral particles can be used as pesticides to control rodents and pests in the farmlands.
  • Reverse transcriptase (RT) enzyme is an enzyme that catalyzes the transcription of RNA into DNA; and this enzyme is applied in recombinant DNA technology or molecular biology for the molecular manipulation of microorganisms. RT which can also be called RNA-dependent DNA polymerase is mainly produced by viruses in the Retroviridae family (e.g. retroviruses).
  • Viruses can also serve as vectors for the transmission of genetic materials (i.e. genes or DNA) from one organism to another.
  • Some viruses have been employed as anti-cancer agents for the treatment of cancer and other molecular diseases.       
  • The study of viruses especially at the molecular level using cell/tissue culture techniques and electron microscopy has acquainted biologists with knowledge that led to the development of other fields such as cell and molecular biology. Such studies also led to the discovery of important cellular and metabolic components of cells that allowed scientists to understand the true nature of some molecular and infectious diseases of man.   


Acheson N.H (2011). Fundamentals of Molecular Virology. Second edition. John Wiley and Sons Limited, West Sussex, United Kingdom.

Alan J. Cann (2005). Principles of Molecular Virology. 4th edition. Elsevier Academic Press, Burlington, MA, USA.

Alberts B, Bray D, Johnson A, Lewis J, Raff M, Roberts K and Walter P (1998). Essential Cell Biology: An Introduction to the Molecular Biology of the Cell. Third edition. Garland Publishing Inc., New York.

Barrett   J.T (1998).  Microbiology and Immunology Concepts.  Philadelphia,   PA:  Lippincott-Raven Publishers. USA.

Black, J.G. (2008). Microbiology:  Principles and Explorations (7th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: J. Wiley & Sons.

Brian W.J Mahy and Mark H.C van Regenmortel (2010). Desk Encyclopedia of Human and Medical Virology. Elsevier Academic Press, San Diego, USA.

Brooks G.F., Butel J.S and Morse S.A (2004). Medical Microbiology, 23rd edition. McGraw Hill Publishers. USA.

Cann A.J (2011). Principles of Molecular Virology. Fifth edition. Academic Press, San Diego, United States.

Carter J and Saunders V (2013). Virology: Principles and Applications. Second edition. Wiley-Blackwell, New Jersey, United States.

Champoux J.J, Neidhardt F.C, Drew W.L and Plorde J.J (2004). Sherris Medical Microbiology: An Introduction to Infectious Diseases. 4th edition. McGraw Hill Companies Inc, USA.       

Dimmock N (2015). Introduction to Modern Virology. Seventh edition. Wiley-Blackwell, New Jersey, United States.

Dimmock N.J, Easton A.J and Leppard K.N (2001). Introduction to modern virology. 5th edition. Blackwell Science publishers. Oxford, UK.

Stay Informed with Microbiology Insights!

Subscribe for the latest blog posts, curated notes, and breaking news in the world of microbiology. Join our community of passionate learners and professionals! We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

🤞 Don’t miss these tips!

Subscribe for the latest blog posts, curated notes, and breaking news in the world of microbiology. Join our community of passionate learners and professionals! We don’t spam! Read more in our privacy policy

You may also like

Leave a Comment