Conclusion

In many ways, virology and viral forensics are still in their infancy. We know very little about the vast spectrum of viruses in nature. Although we should continue to pursue studies on known human pathogens, we need to broaden our efforts in virus isolation, viral genomics, and bioinformatics. A comprehensive database of viral sequences is critical for rapid identification of emerging viral pathogens and new diagnostic platforms, such as oligonucleotide arrays.55 In addition to viral genomics, global proteomic analysis of viral disease processes may uncover molecular signatures that can be used to implicate a particular etiologic agent or class of agents, even in the absence of viral nucleic acid or serology. The global eradication of smallpox ranks as one of humankind's greatest accomplishments. In the wake of this triumph, many viral challenges remain. HIV, hepatitis B and C, influenza, dengue, rotavirus, and many other viral diseases continue to affect tens of millions. It is distressing that in the face of these undeniable challenges we are back to discussing the deliberate use of existing or modified viruses for harm, not good.

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