Viruses are among the most varied living forms on the planet. This is frequently mirrored in the range of people who devote their careers to studying viruses, as well as the many varied methods in which they became interested in the issue. Viruses may infect people through a variety of means, including human behavior and insect bites.
Virology is the study of viruses, from familiar illnesses like chicken pox to novel and emerging infections like Zika and Ebola. Virologists are medical professionals who are in charge of infection diagnosis, management, and prevention. They are also scientists who may be responsible for driving study into various areas of viruses. A virologist is both a scientist and a doctor. They divide their time between working at the bench in laboratories and advising professionals in a variety of areas of the human and animal health service sectors.
Learn more about the life of a virologist in this specific blog.
What is considered a “Virologist”?
Virologists are in charge of diagnosing viral illnesses as well as researching viruses’ pharmacological responses to antiviral medicines and the evolution of treatment resistance. They provide professional advice to colleagues on hospital wards, veterinarians, and the government. They also educate doctors on how antiviral medications should be administered and utilized correctly. They are frequently involved in direct patient care, particularly for patients with chronic illnesses such as HIV and viral hepatitis.
Virologists may also perform their tasks in the fields of public health and health protection medicine, where they may be asked to provide immunization and vaccination recommendations. When a viral epidemic occurs on a ward, virologists collaborate with the hospital’s infection control team to advise ward personnel on the degree of transmission and how to minimize future infection.
As a virologist, you’ll be required to understand how viruses propagate, how to isolate them, and how to diagnose, treat, and prevent illnesses as a virologist. Virologists work in microbiology or virology laboratories for a portion of their time. They do, in fact, work in a wide range of laboratories. In the research laboratory, for example, scientists utilize genetic characterisation to discover novel or emerging agents, allowing them to build diagnostic tests that may be used to assist in defining the spread of infection in both people and animals.
Because many diverse people require the knowledge of a virologist, they collaborate closely with a wide range of medical personnel. They provide telephone advice to other physicians, attend interdisciplinary meetings, and visit staff and patients in wards, clinics, and A&E. They may even work on a worldwide scale, such as with the World Health Organization, and be involved in global health issues. Virologists also conduct research and instruct trainees.
Education & Training
The path to become a virologist, like those of other medical and scientific disciplines, entails several years of formal schooling. Begin your virologist study with a bachelor’s degree in a life sciences subject, such as biology or biochemistry.
The next step is to enroll in a graduate program. Depending on the field of virology that a student wishes to enter, he may seek a Ph.D. (to become a scientific researcher) or attend medical school to become a physician. Some students choose to pursue a master’s degree instead, or to enroll in a combined M.D./Ph.D. program. After finishing school, a virologist may pursue a fellowship or other rigorous training program, which can last several years. However, whether or not that stage is required again depends on the individual’s selected professional path.
Income & Experience
Since the working field is small in comparison to other medical and scientific disciplines, salary information for virologists is not readily available. As of May 2017, the median annual pay for microbiologists, which includes virologists, was $69,960, or $33.64 per hour, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Virologists who work as medical physicians or in academia, on the other hand, may earn significantly different incomes than those who engage in government-funded or privately-funded research. As of May 2017, the BLS stated that the median pay for physicians was $208,000 or more.