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Chapter 6 : A Torrent of Viral Isolates: the Early Years of Diagnostic Virology
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Neonatal and infant mice, easily maintained in the laboratory, were found to be susceptible to certain viruses such as arboviruses and coxsackieviruses. Tissue culture systems were utilized to study a torrent of human viral isolates and their relationships to human disease. Public health virology laboratories served to introduce and refine techniques in diagnostic virology that would become essential to hospital laboratories charged with the care of individual patients at the time of their illness. Hsiung contributed to the advancement of diagnostic virology with numerous publications concerning the functions of the diagnostic lab and individual reports on viral isolates. She developed several animal models of human diseases, including transplacental transmission of cytomegalovirus (CMV) in the guinea pig as a model of congenital human CMV infection. Despite the number of enteric viral isolates in tissue culture, the isolation of the most significant viral causes of gastroenteritis would await further technological advances such as immunoelectron microscopy. While attention was focused on disease associations of viruses and clinical textbooks were organized by viral diseases of organ systems, the increasing amount of information about the biological and physical characteristics of viral isolates spurred taxonomic formulations. The next era following the explosion of viral isolations in tissue culture would make use of immunological, chemical, and electron microscopic techniques.
Werner and Gertrude Henle of CHOP. Werner Henle was the grandson of Jakob Henle, the anatomist. Werner and Gertrude Henle were trained in medicine in Germany and immigrated to the United States in 1936 and 1937, respectively. At CHOP, where Werner established a virology laboratory, they were affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania. They had long and productive careers in which they made contributions to basic and diagnostic virology. (Courtesy of the Fritz Henle estate.) doi:10.1128/9781555818586.ch6.f1
G.-D. Hsiung in the Section of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at Yale University, 1959. Seen at the end of the front row on the right, she stands next to Robert Green, her long-time colleague. Next to him is John Paul, the chairman and polio scholar. Dorothy Horstmann, with whom Hsiung established the diagnostic virology laboratory at the Yale-New Haven Hospital a year later, is in the front row, third from the left. (Yale University, Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney/Medical Library.) doi:10.1128/9781555818586.ch6.f2
G.-D. Hsiung with the 1979 diagnostic virology class. Given annually or biannually for many years, the diagnostic virology class was an intensive 2-week course with lectures and hands-on laboratory sessions. The photograph shows Hsiung (front row, center) and Kenneth McIntosh to her left, with students, faculty, and staff at the VAMC, West Haven, CT. The authors and the writer of the Foreword are pictured: John Booss (second row, right), Marilyn J. August (third row, left), and Marie L. Landry (last row, third from left). (Personal collection, Marilyn J. August.) doi:10.1128/9781555818586.ch6.f3
Chen Pien Li and Morris Schaeffer (seated) of the CDC. They are shown conducting polio research at the CDC location in Montgomery, AL, during a 1953 study. Schaeffer was the first director of CDC’s virology labs from 1949 until 1959, when they were still in Montgomery. In 1959 the labs were moved to Atlanta, GA. (Courtesy of the Public Health Image Library, CDC.) doi:10.1128/9781555818586.ch6.f4
Walter Dowdle of the CDC. A distinguished virologist, Dowdle was with the CDC for 33 years and is a former deputy director. Among Dowdle’s scientific interests are influenza, polio, HIV, and malaria. (Courtesy of the Public Health Image Library, CDC.) doi:10.1128/9781555818586.ch6.f5
Charles Armstrong of the NIH. Armstrong made numerous contributions to virology, including the understanding of polio, St. Louis encephalitis, and lymphocytic choriomeningitis. He was the first chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the NIH. Here he established the philosophy of the LID of fully working out an infectious disease process from agent isolation through prevention. (Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine.) doi:10.1128/9781555818586.ch6.f6
Robert J. Huebner of the NIH. Although without formal scientific research training, Huebner was hired by Charles Armstrong at the NIH. Huebner quickly demonstrated a remarkable capacity to grasp the fundamental concepts of epidemiology and laboratory virology and their application to human viral diseases. He became the leader of the LID. A man of diverse interests, he is shown here on his farm with a prize Angus bull. (Courtesy of the Office of History, NIH.) doi:10.1128/9781555818586.ch6.f7
Robert J. Huebner (left) and Wallace Rowe of the NIH. Rowe made numerous contributions to human virology and to experimental viral oncology. Among these contributions were the isolations of adenovirus and CMV. (Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine.) doi:10.1128/9781555818586.ch6.f8
Robert Chanock (left) and Robert J. Huebner of the NIH. Chanock made major contributions to the understanding of human viral respiratory disease, starting with the isolation of RSV. On Huebner’s move to the NCI, Chanock took over as the leader of the LID. (Courtesy of the Office of History, NIH.) doi:10.1128/9781555818586.ch6.f9
Coronavirus, negative-contrast electron micrograph. The virus is named for the corona-like or crown spikes seen electron microscopically. This type of virus was first isolated from the human common cold using nasal and tracheal organ cultures. Magnification, approximately ×60,000. (Courtesy of Public Health Images Library, CDC.) doi:10.1128/9781555818586.ch6.f10