How to Become a Virologist?

8 minute read
How to Become a Virologist

Virology is a branch of science that deals with the virus. The virus can infect animals, humans, plants, microbes, fungus, the natural environment, and agricultural environments. A job as a virologist may be appealing if you enjoy conducting tests and want to work in the medical industry. If you want to be a virologist, you’re probably looking for some advice on where to begin. This blog contains a wealth of information about how to become a virologist.

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Who is a Virologist? 

Virologists are doctors who specialize in viral diseases such as rubella, herpes, hepatitis, and HIV. They’re mostly concerned with identifying and characterizing infection-causing viruses. They may also be involved in the screening of people who are at risk of contracting specific viruses. A virologist is a highly skilled and talented doctor who can diagnose and treat various viral infections. They treat viral infections such as hepatitis A, B, and C, as well as others. 

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Virologist Job Responsibilities 

Some of the common job responsibilities of a virologist include: 

  • Identifying and characterizing viruses that cause infections in humans, animals, and other living things through research and study.
  • Studying the growth, structure, and development of specific diseases to find cures or prevent a recurrence.
  • Conducting tests to assess the effects of various viruses on others to produce warnings, symptoms, and remedies for health professionals to use and communicate to patients.
  • Blood, urine, and hair samples are being collected for testing.
  • Using molecular tools and microscopic inspections to better understand viruses and come up with more accurate ideas or findings.
  • Identifying the effects of viral infections on organic substances and biological tissues.
  • Finding solutions to decrease outbreaks by studying how different viruses move through diverse populations.
  • Developing and testing novel vaccines in collaboration with other scientists and health specialists.
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Skills Required to Become a Virologist 

Here are some skills that are required to become a virologist:

  • Analytical and Inquisitive Mind: You must be able to interpret a variety of tests and their results accurately, as well as take a critical view of all investigations.
  • Calm Under Pressure: From re-emerging threats to seasonal flu, you’ll need to be able to deal with shifting priorities. If the number of incidents in your neighborhood or hospital ward rises, work might become stressful and unpredictable.
  • Good Communication Skills: In hospitals, public health centers, and other sectors, you’ll be working with a lot of people at different levels, so being able to share clear knowledge and advice is crucial
  • Molecular Biology Skills: Knowledge of cell culture, assay development, and handling laboratory equipment and tools, such as air samplers or collectors, infrared spectrometers, analyzing equipment, and sterilizing equipment molecular biology skills are required. 

How to Become a Virologist?

Let’s identify and discuss the main steps that are involved to become a virologist:

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

Virology is rarely offered as a bachelor’s degree program. Most aspiring virologists major in biology, chemistry, or a similar discipline as undergraduates because a strong science background is required. Students can prepare for graduate degree programs in virology by taking courses in Organic Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Biology, Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Physics, Mathematics, English, Humanities, and Social Science. Here are some browny points to consider for becoming a virologist: 

  • Gaining experience working in a lab environment
  • Working closely with mentors
  • Developing interpersonal and communication skills
  • Taking time to research graduate schools before applying

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Step 2: Prepare for Graduate School Entrance Exams

You can apply to medical school after graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree. The majority of medical school programs last four years. All medical schools require applicants to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and pass it. You can go to medical school and acquire your doctorate if you only want to work in medicine and treat patients. GRE topic exams are also available to aspirants. Admissions committees for virology graduate programs may prefer applicants who have taken a related subject test in chemistry, biology, or molecular biology.

Step 3: Earn Doctoral or Medical Training 

If you’re pursuing a PhD you can enrol in these programs, which entail intensive research and study of numerous viruses, their impacts, and possible cures or treatments. Basic courses such as bacteria structure, eukaryotic genetics, and virology could be taken in your first year. The second year of this program is often spent in the laboratory, where you will undertake frequent investigations on a variety of samples as part of lab rotations. You may be required to teach particular courses and pass qualification tests in both the second and third years. You may spend the last few months of your third year and the first few months of your fourth year researching and writing your dissertation on topics like parasitology, vaccine development, environmental virology, or pediatric diseases.

Step 4: Finish the Postdoctoral Research Training

Medical school graduates must complete extra residency requirements, which typically span three years. Residencies in paediatrics or internal medicine are common for aspiring virologists. After finishing their PhD programs or medical residencies, those interested in working in virology research are often needed to take an additional 3-5 years of postdoctoral research training, sometimes known as a fellowship. Postdoctoral students attend research retreats, seminars, and symposiums to gain extra abilities to succeed as researchers, such as teaching and presenting skills, in addition to conducting research in their field of interest.

Step 5: Earn a Medical License

To work as a clinical virologist, virologists with MD degrees must be licensed. Aspirants must pass the relevant license exams of their home country after completing medical school and residency requirements. There may be extra criteria or a separate licensing examination in many countries. The license must be renewed on a regular basis, which necessitates continued education and professional growth.

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Eligibility Criteria for Virologist

Whether you want to be a Virologist or work in another field, you must meet specific eligibility requirements. So, what are the requirements for becoming a virologist? Let’s have a look at them: 

  • You must have finished your 10+2 education in India at a recognized university or institution.
  • In your most recent exam, you should have received a score of at least 55% to 60%.
  • In the 11th and 12th grades, the candidate should focus on science topics. For your 11th and 12th grades, choose Biology, Physics, and Chemistry.
  • You should have a BSc degree in a scientific-related field such as microbiology, virology, life science, biochemistry, biotechnology, zoology, MBBS, medical lab technology, or any other science-related field.
  • To pursue your postgraduate studies, you must have received at least a 55% in your bachelor’s level exams.

Pro Tip: After completing your bachelor’s degree, you must pursue an MSc in Virology. This will assist you in becoming a Virologist in India. If you want to have the best employment chances, you can enrol in a PhD program in Virology.

Virology Syllabus   

Although the syllabus of a course in the field of virology will vary on the type of program that you will choose and the college/university, here is a general course outline of the MSc Virology program that will help aspirants to become a virologist: 

Semester 1

  • Basic Epidemiology & Biostatistics
  • Basic Immunology
  • Basic Virology
  • Entomological Methods
  • Propagation Of Viruses
  • Tissue Culture & Cell Biology
  • Tissue Culture Techniques
  • Vector Biology
  • Virological Methods
  • Virus/Antigen Detection

Semester 2 

  • Advanced Immunology
  • Antiviral & Vaccines
  • Applied Entomology
  • Applied Epidemiology
  • Biochemical & Biophysical Methods
  • Bioinformatics
  • DNA Technology
  • Epidemiological Data Management & Analysis
  • Gene Regulation & Recombinant
  • Immunological Techniques
  • Medical Entomology 1
  • Serological Methods
  • Virus Replication
  • Virus-cell Interaction

Semester 3

  • Hiv/Aids
  • Veterinary & Agricultural Viruses
  • Viral Encephalitis
  • Viral Enteric Diseases & Cancers
  • Viral Enteric Diseases
  • Viral Exanthematous Diseases
  • Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers
  • Viral Hepatitis
  • Viral Respiratory Diseases

Semester 4

  • Special Topics
  • Research Project

Top Universities Abroad for Virologist

Here are some of the most renowned universities abroad that will help aspirants to pursue their dream course in Virology to become a virologist: 

Name Location QS World University Ranking  2021
Harvard UniversityUSA#3
Case Western Reserve UniversityUSA#162
University Of GlasgowUK#77
Imperial College LondonUK#8
University Of TorontoCanada#25
Mcgill UniversityCanada#31
University Of MelbourneAustralia#41
University Of QueenslandAustralia#46
University Of British ColumbiaUK#45
University Of CambridgeUK#7
University Of ManchesterUK#27

Best Virology Colleges and Institutes in India

It may be difficult for you to choose the top college or university in India because there are so many. As a result, here are some of the greatest institutions for you to consider: 

  • All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh
  • All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
  • Amity University of Virology and Immunology, Noida
  • Annamalai University, Annamalai Nagar
  • Assam Down Town University, Guwahati
  • Bundelkhand University, Jhansi
  • Chhatrapati Shahu Ji Maharaj University, Kanpur
  • Dayananda Sagar University, Bangalore
  • GITAM University, Visakhapatnam
  • Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Patna
  • Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry
  • Kerala University of Health Sciences, Thrissur
  • King George’s Medical University, Lucknow
  • Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences, Karad
  • Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal

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Job Opportunities and Areas of Employment

After you complete the course and obtain your virologist license, you will begin to receive work offers from both the commercial and public sectors. As a result, here are some of the primary work prospects available to you as a virologist:

  • Virologist 
  • Laboratory Assistant 
  • Research Associate 
  • Assistant Professor, and more 

Virologists will be able to find job opportunities in a variety of industries, with the following industries being the most typical sources of job offers:

  • Pharmaceutical Companies
  • Private Clinics
  • Reputed Universities and Colleges
  • Research Centers
  • Government Hospitals
  • Human Immunology Laboratory

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When it comes to a virologist’s compensation in India, they would be able to earn very well due to the numerous work alternatives available to them. You can expect to earn between Rs 2,00,000 and Rs 6,00,000 per annum as a fresher once you finish your education and start working. But keep in mind that this is only the starting salary; it will rise with experience and your skillset. If you want to be a virologist, you need to be skilled at research.

This was a brief overview of how to become a virologist. All of this information can assist students in determining whether or not the course is appropriate for them. Are you thinking about studying abroad but aren’t sure where to begin? Contact our Leverage Edu experts and counsellors on 1800572000 for assistance with everything from applying to your dream school to preparing for your visa interview.

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