February 25, 2021

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Virologists of United Kingdom

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United Kingdom’s scientists or virologists had a key role in virus research studies. It’s a long list of UK’s scientists’ contributions in field of virology.

Studying or researching on virus is called virology. In virology virus or virus like agents are studied for their taxonomy, disease producing properties, cultivation and genetics. Like there are good bacteria and health hazard bacteria. Same case is in viruses too! Basically virology is subfield of microbiology.  Viruses cannot be seen by conventional microscopes because; they are submicroscopic parasitic particles of genetic material contained in a protein coat.  Viruses are so tiny organisms that to see them specific methods and equipment is used! Classifying them by their shape and structure how they evolve and infect other cellular organisms is main object of virology.

Discovery of Virus

The first vaccines were developed by Louis Pasteur (French biologist & Microbiologist) and Edward Jenner (British Physician Scientist) but they didn’t know about virus existence.  It was Dmitri Ivanovsky (Russian Botanist) who used a filter that retains the bacteria from a diseased tobacco plant, while plant remained infected.  It was Martinus Beijerinck who first recognized that filtered substance is not bacteria it’s something else and called it virus.

Role of United Kingdom’s Scientists on Virus Work

United Kingdom’s scientists or virologists had a key role in virus research studies. It’s a long list of UK’s scientists’ contributions in field of virology. From Edward Jenner to Margaret Stanley is a long list of British virologists.

Here is a brief list & description of United Kingdom’s virologists:

1. Edward Jenner

Edward Jenner not the New Zealand’s poet and translator, this is Dr. Edward Jenner who was an English physician and scientist. Smallpox vaccine is considered to be world’s first vaccine. Edward Jenner is also called father of immunology and smallpox vaccine.

2. Sir Christopher Andrews

Sir Christopher Andrews was a Royal Navy Surgeon and a virologist. He discovered the human influenza A virus in 1933. He also developed the vaccine for it too.

3. Sir Patrick Laidlaw

Sir Patrick Laidlaw a virologist and known for his work about dog distemper. It was him who first described the two way immunization against dog distemper. He also discovered influenza virus. He made a huge contribution about recognition viral infections in humans and animals.

4. June Dalziel Almeida

June Almeida was born in Glasgow and she was not having any degree from any university. But her skills on electron microscopy made her renowned virologist. Initially she was an electron microscopy technician, her skills were outstanding and despite having any formal qualifications she co-authored numerous scientific publications. The technique of immune electron microscopy first ever was developed by June Almeida that lead the new ways of diagnosis. June’s immune electron microscopy first time enabled to visualize hepatitis A virus.

The pioneer of virus imaging, identification, and diagnosis is June Dalziel Almeida. Electron microscopy skills of June Dalziel Almeida were internationally acknowledged. It was June Almeida who first identified coronavirus in 1966. Due to their crown like appearance it was called corona virus.  Her innovations in immune electron microscopy (IEM) contributed a lot towards diagnosis of HIV, rubella, and hepatitis B.  Virology textbooks contain the electron micrographs of June Almeida.

5. Norman Wingate Pirie

Norman Wingate Pirie was a biochemist and virologist. His main achievement was characterizing viruses and promoting leaf protein as food. Norman Pirie studied plant viruses and ardently promoted extracted leaf protein as a supplementary nutritious human food. Along with Fredrick Bawden they also discovered that viruses can be crystallized. This was a huge achievement, which lead the path to understand DNA and RNA.

6. David Dane

Sean Whelan is a virologist and known for his work of recognizing the cellular protein as a receptor by Ebola virus and pathway that rabies virus uses to enter neurons. He also did research on virus life cycle (VSV) which will be helpful for identifying antiviral targets.

David Dane was a British pathologist and virologist. He initiated the work in infectious diseases like poliomyelitis and efficacy of different vaccines.  David Dane’s work which made him renowned virologist is his research on diseases that spread through blood transfusion.

7. Leslie Harold Collie

 Freeze drying method was first developed by Leslie Collier which played a key role in manufacturing of more heat stable smallpox vaccine. This development made a key role for eradication of smallpox globally. Peptone a soluble protein was added by Collier in vaccine making process which made the vaccine heat stable. Before that smallpox vaccine become ineffective after 1 or 2 days in high temperature.

8. Sean Whelan

Sean Whelan is a virologist and known for his work of recognizing the cellular protein as a receptor by Ebola virus and pathway that rabies virus uses to enter neurons. He also did research on virus life cycle (VSV) which will be helpful for identifying antiviral targets.

9. Margaret Stanley

Margaret Anne Stanley a virologist and epithelial biologist she is a research scientist and her main focus of research are on the human papillomavirus (HPV).  Her research on papillomavirus (HPV) revealed new scientific findings. Currently she and her research group are targeting on the method of prevention and treatment of papillomavirus (HPV) infection which causes cervical cancer.

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