Synopses & Reviews
The present volume of Frontiers of Virology provides new information on the advantages of using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in the diagnosis of many viruses that cause human diseases, and on some difficulties of using it. The volume is divided into sections each of which dealing with the diagnosis of a group of human viruses: (1) human lentiviruses (HIV-1, AIDS virus) and retroviruses (HTLV I and II and human spumaviruses), (2) hepatitis viruses A, B, C and Delta, (3) herpesviruses (HSV, VZV, HCMV, EBV,and HHV-6), (4) papilloma JC viruses and BK-J 1 virus, (5) airborne and respiratory viruses, rubella, measles, influenza, rhinoviruses, parovirus B19, adenoviruses and coronaviruses, and (6) additional disease-causing RNA viruses, e.g. rabies virus, flaviviruses, hantaviruses and intestinal virus (picorna virus and rota virus). In dealing with these issues the authors describe both the advantages offered by PCR technology and the current limitations of this technology. In addition, the authors provide basic information on the virus and the disease caused by it and explain how to make an accurate PCR diagnosis. The present book transmits the excitement associated with this advancing frontier in virologyand is the first attempt to collect the knowledge relating to this new diagnostic technology in one volume.
The basis for the effective treatment and cure of a patient is the rapid diagnosis of the disease and its causative agent, which is based on the analysis of the clinical symptoms coupled with laboratory tests. Although rapid advance ments have been made in the laboratory diagnosis of virus diseases, the neces sary isolation of the causative virus from the clinical specimens is a relatively long procedure. Viruses which integrate into the cellular DNA (such as human immunodeficiency virus, HIV -1, or hepatitis B virus) are difficult to identify by molecular techniques, while viruses which exist in the clinical material in low concentrations are even more formidable to identify. Recently, the application of the polymerase chain reaction (peR) technique developed by K. D. Mullis and detailed in the study by Saiki et al. (1985) led to a revolution in virus diagnosis. The peR technique was rapidly applied to the diagnosis of viruses in clinical material. Volume 1 of Frontiers of Virology provides new information on the advan tages of the use of the peR for the diagnosis of many human disease-causing viruses, as well as on some problems with its use."
The idea that virology will continue to develop and remain at the forefront of medical science is the premise that led to Frontiers of Virology. The new series will focus on topics which relate knowledge from research in a number of biological fields to conceptual and technical breakthroughs, pushing the field of virology further ahead. Special emphasis will be put on knowledge that will help to curb virus diseases. Frontiers of Virology will therefore be of interest not only to virologists, molecular biologists, and immunologists but also to physicians with expertise in infectious diseases.