Lockdown, social distancing, and quarantine have become an integral part of our lives over the last one year. With fear gripping the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been challenging times for doctors, health care professionals and, of course, virologists – as they had to study and research about the deadly virus and its various mutants.
While the world has found some ray of hope amid gloom – thanks to the vaccination process – most countries have stepped up their health infrastructure and research monitoring. In the recently announced Union budget, the Indian government, too, has pledged to fund four national virology institutes and nine high-containment laboratories for research and studies on infectious pathogens, making virology a viable career option.
A study of viruses and virus-like agents that affect humans, animals and plants, virology is identifying the nature of the virus and coming up with vaccines to prevent them. So if you are interested in science and have a research-orientation, the field of virology could be the perfect choice for you.
How it works
So, one may wonder what exactly is the role of virologists. Virology is definitely a challenging field, but at the same time, it is quite interesting too. Virologists examine the structure of viruses, classify them and monitor their evolution as well as their interactions with host cells and the way other living creatures fight them. Virology also focusses on the spread of infectious disease, including threats such as the common cold, rabies, yellow fever, and polio.
A plethora of opportunities are available to virologists in both the public and the private sector. In the public sector, virologists work with government institutes and laboratories. They are also in demand in the pharmaceutical sector. Working with pharma companies, virologists help develop vaccines and medicines for contagious disease and infections. Virologists can also opt for an academic life by teaching in colleges and universities. Often medical doctors specialise in virology to carry out clinical research or work with patients with such viruses. If you have a desire to educate people about viruses and infections, you can also venture into science writing after training in virology.
What to study?
To work as a virologist, you need a background in Biology, Microbiology or Immunology. To qualify as a virologist, you can opt for a Master of Science (M.Sc) in Virology offered by several colleges and universities. Some colleges also offer specialisations in Clinical Virology and Infection Biology.
- National Institute of Virology, Savitribai Phule University, Pune: M.Sc in Virology
- Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati: M.Sc in Virology
- Manipal University, Karnataka: M.Sc in Clinical Virology
- Amity Institute of Virology and Immunology, Noida: M.Sc. (Immunology), M.Sc. (Medical Microbiology), M.Sc. (Virology), and PG Diploma in Clinical Virology and Immunology
- University of Glasgow, the U.K.: M.Sc in Infection Biology
- University of Cambrige, the U.K.: M.Phil in Biology Science (Pathology)
- University of Oxford, the U.K.: M.Sc Integrated Immunology
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