Due to the insights gained from a decade's worth of viral research, it's not surprising that in the autumn of 2013, Penn State University will offer a newly developed course in viral ecology
. For a century, the word virus
had been exclusively associated with certain human, animal, plant or computer diseases. Virus, which is rooted in the Latin word for a slimy, poisonous liquid, had nothing but negative connotations. Yet virologists have slowly come to realize that only a minority of viruses are virulent. Most are innocuous, some are definitely beneficial, and others are indispensable to their hosts.