Basic research is the foundation of evidence-based medicine whose translation into new, specific, effective therapeutic interventions is the linchpin of translational medicine. Traditionallyvirology has fostered basic research in microbiology, molecular biology, immunology, epidemiology, epigenetics and gene regulation, pathogenesis, genetics and evolution. Viruses quickly and efficiently disarm host intrinsic, innate and adaptive defenses and usurp cellular anabolic pathways resulting in virus production accompanied by cell death (permissiveinfection), virus production without cell death (chronic infection) or inhibition of virus replication with the possibility of future reactivation (latent infection). Recently an unprecedentedclass of infectious pathogens that invariably result in fatal neurogenerative diseases has been identified. These PRoteinaceous Infectious ONly diseaseS are caused by prions that induce structural transitions of host proteins into pathogenicaggregates. Recent evidence suggest prion strain variationand underlines the fact that the full spectrum of disease caused by this novel class of pathogens is not known.
Joel Rovnak, Amy Stone, Randall J. Cohrs