Virology: Timeline of key events

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Horwitz was a chemist who is best known for having synthesised the compound zidovudine (commonly called AZT). Originally Horwitz developed the compound to be an anti-cancer drug in 1964, but it failed to show anticancer activity. Other researchers discovered the drug could prolong the life of AIDS patients. Approved for AIDS in 1987 by the US FDA, AZT transformed AIDS from being fatal into a chronic condition. Horwitz also developed didanosine and stauvidine, antiviral drugs that are used to treat HIV/AIDS.1919-01-16T00:00:00+0000Ivanovsky was a Russian microbiologist who was one of the first scientists to discover viruses. He made the discovery based on a request to investigate a disease that was destroying tobacco crops in the Ukraine, which he carried out while a doctoral student. Initially he believed the destruction was due to mosaic disease, which was commonly linked to bacteria. He then noticed that sap filtered from the diseased plants could transfer the infection to healthy plants. With the microorganism proving invisible even under the highest magnification and able to permeate porcelain filters designed to trap bacteria, Ivanosky concluded the causal agent was an extremely tiny infectious agent. He first described his findings in an article in 1882 and then in a dissertation in 1902. 1920-06-20T00:00:00+0000A pathologist and academic, Epstein is renowned for helping to discover the Epstein–Barr virus, along with Yvonne Barr and Bert Achong. He was the first to propose that the virus caused Burkitt's lymphoma, a cancer that is a major killer of children in Central Africa. 1921-05-18T00:00:00+0000A chemist and biophysicist, Klug won the 1982 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the development of crystallographic electron microscopy. He used the technique to investigate nucleic acid-protein complexes and the structure of viruses. He developed an interest in viruses after meeting Rosalind Franklin in late 1953. Klug also discovered zinc-finger proteins, a class of proteins that bind specific DNA sequences. Scientists now use the modular nature of these proteins to design synthetic proteins for targeted therapies. Klug went to South Africa with his Jewish parents when he was two and then settled in England after completing his master's degree. Klug was the director of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology (1986-1996) and President of the Royal Society (1995-2000). 1926-08-11T00:00:00+0000Griffin was a leading expert on viruses that cause cancer. She was the first woman appointed to Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital. In 1980 she completed the sequence of the poliovirus, the longest piece of eukaryotic DNA to be sequenced at that time. She devoted her life to understanding the Epstein-Barr virus, the cause of Burkitt's Lymphoma, a deadly form of cancer. The virus is also now thought to cause multiple sclerosis. 1930-01-23T00:00:00+0000June Almeida was a major pioneer of electron microscopy which helped transform knowledge about virology. She is best known for taking the first electron micrograph of the rubella virus and a human coronavirus. Her work also helped uncover the structure of the hepatitis B virus which paved the way to developing a vaccine against hepatitis B. She also published some of the first high quality images of HIV. 1930-10-05T00:00:00+0000Temin was a geneticist and virologist who shared the 1975 Nobel Prize for Medicine for his work on the interactions between tumour viruses and the genetic material of the cell. In 1969 he demonstrated that certain tumour viruses carry the ability to reverse the flow of information from RNA back to DNA using the enzyme reverse transcriptase. The same enzyme is now is known to be linked to the widespread spread of viral diseases like AIDs and hepatitis B. 1934-12-10T00:00:00+0000Bishop is an immunologist and microbiologist. He shared the 1989 Nobel Prize for Medicine with Harold E Varmus for discovering the first human oncogene, c-Src. Oncogenes are a type of gene that in certain circumstances, such as exposure to chemical carcinogens, can change a normal cell into a tumour cell. Bishop and Varmus made the discovery while working with Rous sarcoma, a virus known to cause cancer in chickens. 1936-02-22T00:00:00+0000Baltimore shared the 1975 Nobel Prize for his work on the interaction between tumor viruses and the genetic material of the cell. He also spearheaded efforts for the scientific governance of recombinant DNA and genome editing technologies. 1938-03-07T00:00:00+0000The breakthrough was made by Hubert Loring and Carlton Schwerdt. They managed to isolate the virus with 80% purity. The work enabled the team to create the first vaccine in August 1947. Schwerdt continued to improve the technique and by 1953 had managed to isolate 100% pure polio virus with Bachrach Howard, laid the foundation for Jonas Salk to create a safe vaccine in 1955. 1947-01-10T00:00:00+0000Barré-Sinoussi is a virologist who shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2008 for her contributions to identifying the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) as the cause of AIDS. She carried out this work in the 1980s at the Pasteur Institute as part of her research into retroviruses. Barré-Sinoussi has been at the forefront of efforts to develop a vaccine against HIV and a cure for the disease. Serving as the president of the International AIDS Society between 2012 and 2016 and working with WHO, Barré-Sinoussi has collaborated closely with scientists from many resource-limited countries in Africa and Asia. 1947-07-30T00:00:00+0000The work was carried out by John Enders, Thomas Huckle Weller ad Frederick Chapman Robbins. They published their achievement in TH Weller, FC Robbins, JH Enders, 'Cultivation of poliomyelitis virus in cultures of human foreskin and embryonic tissues', Science, 109/2822 (1949), 85-7. The work paved the way for the two kinds of effective poliovirus vaccine, the inactivated poliovirus vaccine of Jonas E. Salk and the live oral polio vaccine of Albert B. Sabin. The three scientists received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1954. 1949-01-28T00:00:00+0000d'Herelle was a French Canadian microbiologist who co-discovered bacteriophages (phages), viruses that infect bacteria that are now major tools in biotechnology. He isolated the first phage from chicken faeces in 1919. Following this he successfully treated chickens infected with typhus with the phage and in August 1919 cured a patient with dysentery using the same method. This laid the basis for the development of phage therapy. 1949-02-22T00:00:00+0000Known as HeLa, the cell line was created by George Gey from cervical cells taken without consent from Henrietta Lacks who died from cervical cancer on 4 October 1951. The cells taken from Lacks were the first human cells grown in the laboratory that did not die after a few cell divisions. The cell line proved enormously beneficial for medical and biological research. It was first published in WF Scherer, JT Syverton, GO Gey, 'Studies on the propagation in vitro of poliomyelitis viruses. IV. Viral multiplication in a stable strain of human malignant epithelial cells (strain HeLa) derived from an epidermoid carcinoma of the cervix', Journal Experimental Medicine, 97/5 (1953), 695–710.1952-05-01T00:00:00+0000The first polio vaccine, developed by Jonas Salk, was tested on children from Arsenal Elementary School in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Nearly 2 million children in 44 states were tested. The trial showed the vaccine to be effective. The vaccine radically reduced the number of polio victims around the world.1954-02-23T00:00:00+0000The feat was achieved by Heinz Fraenkel-Conrat with the tobacco mosaic virus. He did this by stripping away the outer layer of one set of viruses with a common household detergent and then removed the cores of another set using another solution. Once this was done he coated leaves of tobacco plants with the virus extracts, making sure to keep them separate. None of the plants got infected. Frankel-Contrat then reformed the viruses by mixing the extracts, which proved sufficient to infect the plants. Fraenkel-Conrat's work settled a long-dispute about how genetic information controlled viral reproduction. He demonstrated that genetic information was carried in a particle of nucleic acid (RNA) at the core of each virus. Fraenkel-Conrat's research laid the foundation for scientists to study how viruses caused diseases like measles, mumps, chickenpox, flu and the common cold. His research was published in H Fraekel-Conrat, R C Williams, 'Reconstrution of active mosaic virus from its inactive protein and nucelic acid components', PNAS, 41/10 (1955), 690-98.1955-10-15T00:00:00+0000Goodpasture was an American research scientists who developed the first method for culturing uncontaminated viruses in chicken embryos and fertilised chicken eggs. Before this viruses were grown in living tissues which could be contaminated by bacteria. Goodpasture's method laid the foundation for the mass production of vaccines for diseases like smallpox, yellow fever, typhus and chicken pox. He was also a key pioneer in the development of the mumps vaccine. 1960-09-20T00:00:00+0000Created by Leonard Hayflick and Paul S Moorhead.1962-01-01T00:00:00+0000Rivers was a bacteriologist and virologist whose development of a tissue culture for the vaccinia virus, in 1931, paved the way to the development of a vaccine against yellow-fever. He also made important contributions to understanding the viral causes of influenza and chickenpox. Rivers served as the director of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (1937-56) and chaired the virus research committee of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (now the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation) (1938-1955) which oversaw the development of the Salk and Sabin vaccines against polio.1962-05-12T00:00:00+0000Developed by Samuel Katz and John F Enders, the vaccine would later be incorporated into the MMR, a combination vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella.1963-01-01T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
16 Jan 1919Jerome P Horwitz was born in Detroit, Michigan, USAHorwitzKarmanos InstituteVirology, Biochemistry
20 Jun 1920Dmitry I Ivanovsky diedIvanovskyUniversity of St PetersburgVirology
18 May 1921Anthony Epstein was born in the UKEpsteinUniversity of BristolVirology, Oncology
11 Aug 1926Aaron Klug was born in Zelvas, LithuaniaKlugLaboratory of Molecular BiologyX ray crystallography, RNA, Zinc fingers, Virology
23 Jan 1930Beverly Griffin was born in Delhi, Louisiana, USAGriffinImperial CollegeDNA sequencing, genetics, oncology, virology
5 Oct 1930June Almeida was born in Glasgow, ScotlandAlmeidaHammersmith Postgraduate Medical SchoolVirology, Vaccines, Infectious diseases
10 Dec 1934Howard M Temin was born in Philadelphia, PA, USATeminUniversity of WisconsinGenetics, Virology, Oncology
Feb 1936John Michael Bishop born in York, PA, USABishopUniversity California San FranciscoOncology, Virology
7 Mar 1938David Baltimore was born in New York CityBaltimoreNew York CityRecombinant DNA, Oncology, Virology, Cloning
10 Jan 1947First time polio virus was isolatedLoring, SchwerdtStanford UniversityVaccines, Virology, Infectious diseases
30 Jul 1947Francoise Barré-Sinoussi born in Paris, FranceBarre-SinoussiPasteur InstituteVirology
28 Jan 1949Polio virus successfully grown on human embryonic cells in cultureEnders, Weller, RobbinsBoston Children's HospitalCell culture, Vaccine, Virology
22 Feb 1949Felix d'Herelle diedd'HerellePasteur InstituteAntibacterial agents, Bacteriophages, Bacteriology, Virology, Phage therapy
1 May 1952First immortal human cell line (HeLa) developedLacks, Gey, Scherer, SyvertonUniversity of Minnesota, Johns Hopkins UniversityCell culture, Organ-on-a-chip, Virology
23 Feb 1954Salk polio vaccine trial beganSalkUniversity of PittsburghVirology, Vaccines, Infectious diseases
15 Oct 1955Virus dismantled and put back together to reconstitute a live virusFraenkel-ConratUniversity of California BerkleyDNA, Virology
20 Sep 1960Ernest Goodpasture diedGoodpastureHarvard UniversityVirology, Vaccines
1962WI-38 cell line developed - important to development of vaccinesHayflick, MoorheadWistar InstituteVaccine, Virology
12 May 1962Thomas M Rivers diedRiversRockefeller Institute Virology, Bacteriology, Vaccines
1963 - 1963Development of first attentuated measles virus vaccineEnders, Katz Vaccines, Virology, Infectious diseases

16 Jan 1919

Jerome P Horwitz was born in Detroit, Michigan, USA

20 Jun 1920

Dmitry I Ivanovsky died

18 May 1921

Anthony Epstein was born in the UK

11 Aug 1926

Aaron Klug was born in Zelvas, Lithuania

23 Jan 1930

Beverly Griffin was born in Delhi, Louisiana, USA

5 Oct 1930

June Almeida was born in Glasgow, Scotland

10 Dec 1934

Howard M Temin was born in Philadelphia, PA, USA

10 Dec 1934

John Michael Bishop born in York, PA, USA

7 Mar 1938

David Baltimore was born in New York City

10 Jan 1947

First time polio virus was isolated

30 Jul 1947

Francoise Barré-Sinoussi born in Paris, France

28 Jan 1949

Polio virus successfully grown on human embryonic cells in culture

22 Feb 1949

Felix d'Herelle died

1 May 1952

First immortal human cell line (HeLa) developed

23 Feb 1954

Salk polio vaccine trial began

15 Oct 1955

Virus dismantled and put back together to reconstitute a live virus

20 Sep 1960

Ernest Goodpasture died


WI-38 cell line developed - important to development of vaccines

12 May 1962

Thomas M Rivers died

1963 - 1963

Development of first attentuated measles virus vaccine

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