General Virology (VIR 4175) Syllabus and Guidelines


Dear future colleagues,

For every cellular organism on this earth, there is a virus. Viruses impact our health, economy, and environment. Many viruses are looked upon as dangerous threats because numerous viruses cause devastating human, animal, and plant diseases. However, viruses are one of the guardians of the planet's ecosystem. For example, some marine viruses are indirectly responsible for reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by approximately 3 gigatons of carbon per year .

The study of viruses has given man insights into a myriad of sciences and applications. Major developments in immunology, molecular biology, vaccinology, mutation, evolution, and even material sciences and nanotechnology, were only possible by the study of virus models. It is for this reason that we will focus our study on the basic concepts of virology without venturing too far into diseases caused by viruses (other courses will be more appropriate for that).

We will try to integrate applied information into every concept discussed. I will also make sure that the practical aspects of the science (e.g. in-vitro cultivation, and molecular diagnosis) are discussed alongside the theoretical subjects. However, because of time limitations, some important topics related to the science will be left for future courses (e.g. genetic engineering of viruses, and modern vaccinology). Only major outlines of aforementioned topics will be included in our study this semester.

As you shall soon discover, there is a lot to be gained by our study of viruses on the personal and national levels. Virology is an integral part of many of today’s biotechnological applications; therefore, it is an integral part of our program at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Cairo University. I pray that you gain the best of this experience.

Course objectives

1. To help students understand the impact of viruses on the earth and all its inhabitants.
2. To explain the basics of virus structure.
3. To allow students to understand the basics of virus classification.
4. To demonstrate select models of viral replication strategies.
5. To help students understand select models of pathogenesis of viral infections.
6. To outline the immune response to viral infections, and select models of viral evasion of the immune response.
7. To give students a view of the influenza model of virus mutation and evolution.
8. To give an understanding of molecular basis of viral zoonoses.
9. To discuss basic concepts of virus cultivation and purification.
10. To overview strategies for control of viral infections in human and animal models.
11. To provide students with an understanding of the economic importance of viruses, and examples of their role in today’s biotechnology industry.

Course Requirements and Policy
1. Teaching, exams, and reports will be in English. Please, try to use English as well in discussion. The sooner we get over the language “barrier” the better. Additional explanations given orally will be in Arabic.
2. Lectures, student presentations, and laboratory sessions will be held in Rm # E 319.
3. Starting from the second week, you will be given teaching materials, and advised to “read” the material prior to the date when it is due to be discussed. This is designed to help you reach you maximum potential. You will be required to explain the reading material in class.
4. While you are in class, you are required to participate actively in the discussions pertaining to the subject matter. Remember you are a scientist!
5. There will be two pop exams for an Extra 5% of the total grade.
6. The dates for handing-in assignments are fixed; if you miss one, you are allowed to hand it in within one week of termination of the deadline, and for only 80% of the grade for that assignment.
7. You are required to make a short scientific review (5 pages, single spaced, 12 pts, Times New Roman) * on a topic related to the science. You are required to make at-least 2 office hours meetings during the course (see important dates). You are also required to present your short review*.
8. The practical items will be covered by Dr. Mahmoud Bayoumi. He will provide you with appropriate course materials. You are encouraged to discuss any topic pertaining to the science with either of us.
9. Plagiarism is prohibited and will not be tolerated. The simplest way to know that you are committing plagiarism is if you find yourself claiming that something is yours, while “in-fact” it is the work and thought of someone else. You MUST think; write using your own style, and reference people that have helped to create your own ideas and style. YOU WILL FAIL IF YOU COMMIT PLAGIARISM.

Teaching materials and internet sites
The recommended reading material is Fenner's Veterinary Virology. Fifth Edition. N. James MacLachlan and Edward J. Dubovi, 2016. Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-511340-4. Part I: The principles of Veterinary and Zoonotic Virology.
Additional teaching material will be handed out during lectures, when needed.

Attendance policy
Students are required to attend at least 75% of the number of classes. If you fail to attend 75% of classes you will not be allowed to take the final exam. Legal exceptions will be allowed. Please, show up on time. The more you miss, the lower your grades will be in your exams. This is just a fact of life.

Related materials