Virus Watch: Cancer Killing Viruses

Guest host Lynda Coughlan reviews how oncolytic viruses, which specifically kill tumor cells, are designed and how they work.

Virus Watch: How mosquitoes spread viruses

In this episode of Virus Watch, I explain how mosquitoes spread viruses. We’ll look at how a mosquito finds a host, how it finds a blood vessel, and how it delivers viruses to a new host. Don’t blame mosquitoes for viral diseases: it’s not their fault!

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MicrobeTV produces podcasts and videos about microbes, like This Week in VirologyThis Week in MicrobiologyThis Week in ParasitismThis Week in Evolution, and Virus Watch. We love all microbes, and our goal is to make the microbial sciences easily understood. We would like your support to help us produce a steady stream of podcasts, and videos with great graphics. We would also like to be able to bring our shows on the road and visit cool laboratories around the world and speak with our colleagues about their exciting cutting edge research.

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Twenty-five lectures in virology

Virology lecturesHave you always wanted to better understand viruses, but did not know where to start? I have the solution for you – my undergraduate virology course. The 2016 version has just ended, and all the lectures are available as videos, either on YouTube or here at virology blog (where you can also find lecture slides and study questions).

It will take some time for you to watch all the videos – each is about 70 minutes long – but the effort will be worth it. In the end you will know more virology than most of the world. With new viruses emerging annually, don’t you want to understand how they work? Go ahead, dive in.

Lecture 1: What is a virus?
Lecture 2: The infectious cycle
Lecture 3: Genomes and genetics
Lecture 4: Structure
Lecture 5: Attachment and entry
Lecture 6: RNA directed RNA synthesis
Lecture 7: Transcription and RNA processing
Lecture 8: DNA replication
Lecture 9: Reverse transcription and integration
Lecture 10: Translation
Lecture 11: Assembly
Lecture 12: Infection basics
Lecture 13: Intrinsic and innate defenses
Lecture 14: Adaptive immunity
Lecture 15: Mechanisms of pathogenesis
Lecture 16: Acute infections
Lecture 17: Persistent infections
Lecture 18: Transformation and oncogenesis
Lecture 19: Vaccines
Lecture 20: Antivirals
Lecture 21: Evolution
Lecture 22: Emerging viruses
Lecture 23: Unusual infectious agents
Lecture 24: HIV and AIDS
Lecture 25: Viral gene therapy

Virus Watch, Zika Edition

Readers of virology blog know my fondness for the long form. Many appreciate an in-depth discussion of virology in a blog post, video, or podcast, but this format is not for everyone. I know that I have been missing many individuals who would like to know more about viruses, but do not have the time or interest to spend an hour or more a week doing so. For those individuals, I have started Virus Watch.

Virus Watch is a weekly video series that explores the amazing world of viruses. They will be short (less than 10 minutes), with clear animation and focused on one or two stories. I released the first episode this week, which is about recent research on Zika virus. This virus will certainly be our focus for some time, but I also will explore other viruses in the series.

I am fascinated by viruses, which have I studied for my entire career, and I want you to be fascinated with them as well. You can find Virus Watch at my YouTube channel, or view the first video below.

Interview with Thomas London

A major new feature of the fourth edition of Principles of Virology is the inclusion of 26 video interviews with leading scientists who have made significant contributions to the field of virology. These in-depth interviews provide the background and thinking that went into the discoveries or observations connected to the concepts being taught in this text. Students will discover the personal stories and twists of fate that led the scientists to work with viruses and make their seminal discoveries.

For the chapter on Infections of Populations, Vincent spoke with Thomas London, MD, of the Fox Chase Cancer Center, about his career and his work on hepatitis B virus.

Understanding viruses

Virology lecturesIf you want to understand life on Earth, you need to know about viruses.

We have reached the halfway point in my 2016 Columbia University undergraduate virology course. So far we have learned the basics of virus replication: how viruses enter cells, how the genome is reproduced, and how proteins are made and assembled into new virus particles. In the second half of the course, we will consider how viruses cause disease, how immune responses prevent infection, vaccines, antivirals, emergence of new viruses, and much more.

All of my lectures are recorded as videos and available freely on YouTube. Below is a list of the first thirteen lectures, with links to the YouTube videos. You can also subscribe to the videos at iTunes University. If you would like copies of the lecture slides and study questions, go to

Lecture 1: What is a virus?
Lecture 2: The infectious cycle
Lecture 3: Genomes and genetics
Lecture 4: Structure
Lecture 5: Attachment and entry
Lecture 6: RNA directed RNA synthesis
Lecture 7: Transcription and RNA processing
Lecture 8: DNA replication
Lecture 9: Reverse transcription and integration
Lecture 10: Translation
Lecture 11: Assembly
Lecture 12: Infection basics
Lecture 13: Intrinsic and innate defenses


Earth’s virology course for 2016

Do you want to learn virology? Every spring I teach a virology course at Columbia University, and this year’s version has just started. I record every lecture and put the videos on YouTube. Here is a link to the playlist: Virology Lectures 2016. Lecture #1, What is a Virus, is embedded below as a teaser.

I strongly believe that the best approach to teaching introductory virology is by emphasizing shared principles. Studying the phases of the viral reproductive cycle, illustrated with a set of representative viruses, provides an overview of the steps required to maintain these infectious agents in nature. Such knowledge cannot be acquired by learning a collection of facts about individual viruses. Consequently, the major goal of my virology course is to define and illustrate the basic principles of animal virus biology.

You can find the complete course syllabus, pdf files of the slides, and reading at

My goal is to be Earth’s virology professor, and this is my virology course for the planet.

Harald zur Hausen on human papillomaviruses

I interviewed Harald zur Hausen, MD., recipient of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, in Manchester UK at the 2013 meeting of the Society for General Microbiology. We spoke about his career, his work leading to the discovery that human papillomavirus types 16 and 18 are causative agents of cervical cancer, and his thoughts on other agents of human cancers.

Slow motion sneezing

A bit unsettling, but this is what happens when a sneeze is not contained:

If you have a respiratory viral infection, each drop expelled can contain tens of thousands of infectious virions.

Made by South Australian Health.