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December 21, 1957


Author Affiliations


From the Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh.

JAMA. 1957;165(16):2059-2063. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.02980340025007

The laboratory worker can now propagate at will a significant proportion of recognized viruses pathogenic to man. The use of experimental animals is supplemented by that of chick embryos and of tissue cultures, and the technique of tissue culture has been simplified by the advent of antibiotics and of commercially available reagents and nutrients. There is steady progress toward the development of simpler, less expensive, and more practical tests. A viral infection can be diagnosed by demonstrating specific pathological alterations such as the Negri body in rabies, by isolating the virus itself, or by using serologic means that depend on the appearance of specific antibodies during the course of the disease. The majority of common viral infections can thus be diagnosed on a practical basis. Formerly the diagnostic applications of virology depended on the existence of laboratories for virological research. Now the laboratory for virological diagnosis enjoys an independent existence and is in a position to contribute to research.