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Economic Importance of Viruses


  • Control of diseasePhages been used in treatment against dysentery, cholera, plague and many other pathogenic bacterial diseases. They act as scavengers by feeding and destroying pathogenic bacteria thus useful in the lysis of harmful bacterial present in polluted water. Phages can be administered orally, incorporated in drinking water or food to control Salmonella and Campylobacter in poultry.

  • In preparing antidotes/vaccine: Pox, mumps, polio, jaundice etc diseases can be controlled by penetrating using or dead virus in the human body as vaccines.

  • In controlling harmful animals and insects: Some animals and insects which are harmful to humans can be controlled by some special virus. 

  • In the laboratory: Virus is used in the lab, as the simplest living model. In the research of genetics, the virus is used mostly. It is an important subject in genetic engineering.

  • In the evidence of evolution:  Virus plays a vital role to acquire knowledge about the trend of evolution and the process of formation of living organisms because the virus contains both living and non-living characteristics.

  • Phages are very specific and do not harm the useful bacteria that live in and on the body. Thus have been proposed as alternatives to antibiotics for many antibiotic resistant bacterial strains.

  • Helps in transduction of genetic material and therefore they have potential uses in biotechnology, research, and therapeutics.

  • Viruses can be used as bio-control agents in agriculture and petroleum industry.



  • Human viruses, especially those that caused to deaths, can have larger negative economic effects. For example, Africa’s Ebola virus resulted economic losses of over $1.6 billion and COVID-19 pandemic has caused a severe crisis of healthcare facilities and economic challenges worldwide.

  • Plant diseases caused by virus:  Tobacco mosaic disease, Leaf curl of papaya, Yellow vein mosaic of bhindi, Potato leaf roll, Vein banding mosaic disease of potato, Grassy shoot of sugarcane, Bunchy top of banana, Tungro disease of rice and Tomato leaf curl, etc.

  • Human diseases caused by virus: Chickenpox, Smallpox, Rabies or Hydrophobia, AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome), Yellow fever, Dengue fever, Polio, Hepatitis etc.

  • The virus destroys plenty of bacteria which are useful for humans. Viruses can cause a destructive influence on human societies. They can be weaponized for biological warfare.

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