Neo-virology: The raison d'etre of viruses

Tokiko Watanabe, Nobuhiro Suzuki, Keizo Tomonaga, Hirofumi Sawa, Yoshiharu Matsuura, Yasushi Kawaguchi, Hideki Takahashi, Keizo Nagasaki, Yoshihiro Kawaoka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Given that approximately 1031 virus particles exist on Earth and all of them are parasitic in living organisms, it is not hard to imagine how virus infection might affect the physiology of hosts and their ecosystems. However, traditional virology research tends to focus on viral pathogenicity or the individual pathogenic viruses; hence, the significance of viruses and viral-mediated processes in the global ecosystem has been poorly understood. To identify the previously unrecognized “raison d'etre of viruses” in nature, we established a research community, designated as the ‘Neo-virology’ consortium. In this consortium, we define a virus as a component of the global ecosystem and our aim is to elucidate its key roles in host organisms, that is, the intra-host ecosystem.

Original languageEnglish
Article number197751
JournalVirus research
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Neo-virology
  • Viral purpose
  • Viral roles in the ecosystem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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