How do we research a virus?

Viruses may be small and can’t live on their own, but they are still pretty smart. This is because there is one thing that viruses can do extremely well: evolve.

Why is research into viruses necessary?

Take the Influenza virus for example, the virus that causes the flu in millions of people every year. Not all these people become ill from the same influenza virus.

Each year there are many new and slightly different types of influenza viruses that have evolved from viruses that came before. Viruses can evolve, mutate and adapt very quickly to new circumstances. That is why we constantly need to research new types of viruses.

Research into infectious diseases

Laura Doornekamp, researcher at Erasmus MC, explains that to study viruses, you need to get samples from infected patients who want to join research trials. The samples are then studied in a lab to find out what the makeup of the virus is and how it works. This provides the first steps for creating a vaccine or developing treatment for patients who are already infected.

Make sure to take a look at the other research questions, because the results of this type of research will be shared with you there!