Emerging Novel Viruses

BioSupply Trends Quarterly Summer Magazine ~ August 1, 2021
- By Jim Trageser

With the ongoing global pandemic courtesy of the coronavirus, novel viruses have become a topic of discussion in the medical community — and among laypeople. But the nature of novel viruses, what they are, how they appear and the threat they pose to public health are not widely understood.

What Are Novel Viruses?

Viruses as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary are "nonliving extremely complex molecules, that typically contain a protein coat surrounding an RNA or DNA core of genetic material but no semipermeable membrane, that are capable of growth and multiplication only in living cells." Simply put, a novel virus is one that has not previously been identified by the scientific community and, thus, has not been named or categorized. In fact, novel viruses may have existed for years, but they were never encountered by human researchers. On the other hand, novel viruses may newly develop since genes in RNA and DNA are subject to mutation.

Almost 7,000 viruses have been described in detail, according to a March 24, 2020, article in The New York Times, and that number has undoubtedly grown. Still, it's estimated there may be hundreds of thousands, even millions, of viruses that have not yet been discovered. And, every one of them is a novel virus… Read Full Article