Exploiting the Legacy of the Arbovirus Hunters

Viruses. 2019 May 23;11(5):471. doi: 10.3390/v11050471.


In recent years, it has become evident that a generational gap has developed in the community of arbovirus research. This apparent gap is due to the dis-investment of training for the next generation of arbovirologists, which threatens to derail the rich history of virus discovery, field epidemiology, and understanding of the richness of diversity that surrounds us. On the other hand, new technologies have resulted in an explosion of virus discovery that is constantly redefining the virosphere and the evolutionary relationships between viruses. This paradox presents new challenges that may have immediate and disastrous consequences for public health when yet to be discovered arboviruses emerge. In this review we endeavor to bridge this gap by providing a historical context for the work being conducted today and provide continuity between the generations. To this end, we will provide a narrative of the thrill of scientific discovery and excitement and the challenges lying ahead.

Keywords: arbovirus discovery; arbovirus history; electron microscopy; metagenomics; next generation sequencing; taxonomy.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arbovirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Arbovirus Infections / history
  • Arbovirus Infections / virology*
  • Arboviruses / isolation & purification
  • Arboviruses / physiology*
  • Arboviruses / ultrastructure
  • Genome, Viral
  • Genomics / methods
  • Global Health
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Research / history