About this Research Topic
While there are well over a hundred million of virus species, all are strictly dependent on their host individuals/cells for the replication, transmission, and persistence under given circumstances. Some viruses are infectious to plural host species but others replicate in a species-specific manner. Hosts, in turn, have developed the anti-viral mechanisms against viruses in some cases. Nonetheless, in some occasions, viruses induce recognizable, sometimes severe, diseases in their hosts. Of note, we are now encountering the global risk of emerging/re-emerging viruses. Unfortunately, we have to expect that infectious diseases caused by these viruses can appear in the world at any time. Understanding these complicated situations around viruses is challenging and necessary to comprehend the whole biological world. Virus-host interactions and their resultant biology, therefore, represent major scientific themes for precise and thorough studies. These include multi-disciplined investigations performed at molecular, cellular, individual and/or population level. Molecular and biological bases for the virology need to be clarified in detail. New methodologies should also be introduced into the studies to effectively perform the analyses and to promote their progresses. Rapidly growing structural and computational sciences etc. would meet the requirements.
Animal RNA viruses are well known to mutate most rapidly at the highest frequency in response to environmental pressures. RNA viruses are widely present, and more species than those of DNA viruses have been identified to exist. These RNA viruses can form the large mutated virus pools consisting of viruses with altered biological characteristics, such as infectivity, replication speed, cellular tropism, host tropism, sensitivity to anti-viral reagents, transmissibility, and/or pathogenicity. Typical examples are the above described emerging/re-emerging viruses, causative agents of AIDS, influenza, gastroenteritis, hemorrhagic fever, respiratory disorder, or etc. We must act against these pathogenic viruses on the basis of scientific evidences, i.e., fundamental information at various levels on viruses. From a medical point of view, new vaccine and drug strategies based on their highly mutable nature are required. Predicting virus mutation and evolution would be one of the key factors for future curative/preventive medicine against viral diseases.
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