Monday, September 23, 2013

ATA54: Basics of Virology

Tapani Ronni will be presenting Basics of Virology (ST-7, Saturday 10:00 am–11:00 am). The brief description from the conference website reads:

“This session will provide an introduction to virology. What are viruses and how are they different from other microbes? Can viruses even be considered alive? How come antibiotics do not work against viral infections? Using influenza and AIDS as case studies, antiviral drugs and antiviral immunity will be reviewed briefly. New tools, including viral vectors for gene therapy, will also be discussed. This session will be useful for scientific and medical translators and interpreters.”

I asked Tapani to provide us with a little more information and he referred to his previous talk he gave in San Diego in 2012, Basics of Immunology. An accompanying paper can be found in the ATA Conference Proceedings CD-ROM. He recommends reading it first. He has also written a paper for this talk that can be found in this year’s Proceedings.

“My audience is a scientific or medical translator who has some familiarity with biology and biochemistry. I don’t expect anything beyond high school level. I will assume that attendees are familiar with basic concepts of biochemistry such as protein, DNA, and RNA. I will introduce viruses from the historical viewpoint and then quickly go through their structure and properties—viruses vs. cells, what makes them special entities etc.

I cannot go too deep into virus replication in one hour but I will introduce their life cycles briefly using two important viruses, influenza virus and HIV, as examples. We will also talk about antiviral immunity, virus vaccines, antiviral drugs, and virus vectors in gene therapy. This is a lot to cover so we can only touch the surface of each topic."

This will be a highly visual talk that will give a foundation for further studies for those interested in learning more about this fascinating topic. A reading list will be given at the end.

I attended Tapani’s session on Immunology last year, and I can assure readers that he is an informative and engaging speaker. Listeners are sure to find his presentation very prepared, clear, and helpful.

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