Neurovirology is an interdisciplinary field which represents a melding of clinical neuroscience, virology, immunology, and molecular biology. The main focus of the field is to study viruses capable of infecting the nervous system. In addition to this, the field studies the use of viruses to trace neuroanatomical pathways, for gene therapy, and to eliminate detrimental populations of neural cells. The field of neurovirology was formed within the past 30 years. It was founded upon the discovery that a large number of viruses are capable of invading and establishing latent infections in nervous tissue.
Such viruses have been shown to produce slow, chronic, or progressive nervous system diseases. Neurovirology incorporates the related fields of virology, neuroscience, neurology, immunology, and molecular biology. The main focus of the field is to study the molecular and biological basis of virus induced diseases of the nervous system. In addition to this, the field studies the use of these viruses as tracers of neuroanatomical pathways and as vectors for gene therapy.
The field relies upon neuroimaging, isolation of the virus from brain tissue or CSF, serological testing of serum and CSF, and microscopic examination of tissue to diagnose nervous system infections. New viruses and viral infections of the nervous system will continue to emerge and the field of Neurovirology must constantly expand to meet these growing needs While the interest in researching viruses that infect the nervous system has increased dramatically over the past 40 years, there are three key components vital for the continued advancement of the field: Training: New researchers and clinicians need to be trained about the significance of viral infection in the progression of neurological diseases. Technology: New technology needs to be refined and developed which will aid in the progression of research. Development of Therapy: Insight gained by research should be applied to the therapy of neurological diseases.