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Arch Virol Suppl. 1999;15:87-109.

Life beyond eradication: veterinary viruses in basic science.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, New Jersey, USA.


To some, the focus of research in virology entails the search for solutions of practical problems. By definition then, attention is limited to those viruses that cause disease or to exploitation of some aspect of virology to a practical end (e.g., antiviral drugs or vaccines). Once a disease is cured, or the agent eradicated, it is time to move on to something else. To others, virology offers the opportunity to study fundamental problems in biology. Work on these problems may offer no obvious practical justification; it is an affliction of the terminally curious, perhaps with the outside hope that something "useful" will come of it. To do this so-called "basic science", one must find the most tractable system to solve the problem, not the system that has "relevance" to disease. I have found that veterinary viruses offer a variety of opportunities to study relevant problems at the fundamental level. To illustrate this point, I describe some recent experiments in my laboratory using pseudorabies virus (PRV), a swine herpesvirus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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