Virology and Anti-virus Therapy

Module summary

Module code: BIOL1053
Level: 7
Credits: 15
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Medway School of Pharmacy
Module Coordinator(s): Nigel Temperton / Simon Scott



The aim of this module is to give students a comprehensive understanding and knowledge of current problems and new insights into virology and the cell and molecular biology underlying anti-virus therapy. The course will cover the impact of new research on our understanding of fundamental biological processes that relate to diseases caused by viruses. The emphasis of this module is how basic science is translated into diagnostics and therapy; past, present and future.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course a student will have:
an ability to professionally evaluate current research and advanced scholarship in key areas of virology

a comprehensive understanding of the concepts that underpin major aspects of virology and anti-viral therapy
a systematic understanding of new developments in the anti-viral therapeutics of important viral diseases and evaluate how these novel methodologies may be translated into the clinical environment

A detailed understanding and ability to critically appraise experimental strategies in virology research

the ability to plan and formulate accurate and concise communications to convey principles of scientific theories and ideas using a range of media

Indicative content

The indicative content will include:

Introduction to virology; virus structure, virus taxonomy, virus genomes, virus infection, virus replication, virus proteins, cell culture & virus propagation, virus assays and the immune response to virus infection.

Examples of important virus infections (e.g. smallpox, herpes, papilloma, influenza, polio, HIV) and their current treatments.
Viral vaccines (vaccination, live vs inactivated vaccines, subunit vaccines and next-generation vaccines (VLP, DNA, RNA). Vaccine delivery methods and vaccine adjuvants.). Clinical trials of new vaccines and regulatory requirements.

Antivirals (modes of action and new targets). Toxicity and drug resistance.

Antigenic variation in virology and its influence on therapy (e.g. influenza shift/drift – seasonal and pandemic outbreaks).

Emerging and re-emerging viruses: from public to global health.

Plant viruses and threats to food security.

Bacteriophages, prions, viroids.

Detection and identification of virus infections

Virus serology: the measurement of antibody responses against viruses with particular emphasis on emerging viruses of global importance (e.g. SARS, MERS, rabies, HIV, Ebola). Application of serology to immunogenicity testing of vaccines and to sero-epidemiology.

Pseudotyped viruses; Use as surrogate viruses in cell-based assays (cell entry, antibody neutralization, antiviral screening).

Gene therapy using viral vectors.

Therapeutic and diagnostic monoclonal antibodies (production and use)