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Journal Articles Virologie Year : 2022

Human viruses, ancient, recent and zoonosis: a never ending story?

Virus humains anciens, récents et zoonotiques : une histoire sans fin ?


For the past three years, the nature and evolution of human viruses have been taught in University Grenoble-Alpes without relying on the systematic list of all virus families. A «historical» approach allows to define three main categories of viruses following if they have co-evolved with humans for a very long time (ancient human viruses), if they began to infect humans in the Neolithic or later (recent human viruses) or if they are still animal viruses that are transmitted to humans sporadically (zoonotic viruses). We present below the principles and some examples of this pedagogic separation which has not the pretention to replace the classical taxonomic classification based on morphological and sequence similarity (ICTV classification) or on the form and replication mode of the viral genome (Baltimore classification). It helps grouping of viruses with similar effects even if their evolution is different. We show where human viruses come from and how they can cause human diseases. This approach was tested with Biology students, and then extended to Medicine and Pharmacy students to ensure that teaching was based on the same concepts in the three Faculties. In the end, all the students were very receptive and interested in this approach. Of course, different teaching methods can work, but this way of presenting things is also more fun for teachers and promotes cooperation between speakers.
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Dates and versions

hal-03810309 , version 1 (11-10-2022)



Rob Ruigrok, Emmanuel Drouet, Patrice Morand, Nicolas Tarbouriech, Rob W.H. Ruigrok. Human viruses, ancient, recent and zoonosis: a never ending story?. Virologie, 2022, 26 (3), pp.240-252. ⟨10.1684/vir.2022.0957⟩. ⟨hal-03810309⟩
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