From everyday coughs and sneezes to life-threatening illnesses such as AIDS and Hepatitis, viruses have a major impact on our lives and our health. Unlike other disease causing agents such as bacteria and parasites, viruses are unable to live and grow on their own, instead they live inside the cells of their hosts, turning them into factories to produce millions more viruses.
Researchers have made great strides forward in controlling and preventing viral disease through the production of vaccines, for example, against measles, mumps, polio, rubella and smallpox and through the invention of medicines to combat viruses such as Influenza, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV).
The snowflake-like abstract beauty of their symmetrical structures, contrasts starkly with the sinister manner in which viruses mercilessly enslave their hosts. Viruses represent an intriguing area of research for scientists working to understand how these smallest of parasites cause disease.
Molecular Machines is a collaboration between scientists from the Medical Research Council - University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research (CVR) and artist Murray Robertson, using images from virus research. The CVR employs state of the art molecular and structural biology techniques to investigate viruses, building knowledge that will lead to the development of more effective treatments for viral disease.