6 Best Virology Textbooks (2024 Review)

Virology is the scientific stud of viruses and viral diseases. It is a branch of medical science that is a subfield of microbiology. The study focuses on the structure, classification, evolution, detection, and infection of human, plant, or animal hosts.

Virology also entails how viruses interact with the body of their host, how they reproduce to overwhelm the body’s defenses and cause diseases, as well as the scientific techniques of destroying them through medical research and interventions.

best virology textbooks

Virology began to be a discipline for scientific study in 1898 when Martinus Beijerinck identified and cultured the virus causing tobacco mosaic disease. He established that viruses are different from bacteria and fungi. Today, virus types range in the thousands and virologists specialize in viruses that affect only plants, animals, and humans.

If you are a medical student interested in virology, there are some detailed virology textbooks you can read to expand your knowledge of virology.

Best Virology Textbooks: Our Top Recommendations

These 6 best virology textbooks were handpicked by our internal review staff and recommended for all medical students, residents, clinical virologists, academic scholars, and general practitioners who are interested in the pathology of viruses.

Featuring colorful images, illustrative charts, review evaluations, quick references, updated and revised in line with board requirements and latest advancements, these books are also the best in terms of affordability and universality.

1. Principles of Virology (ASM Books)

Principles of Virology, Multi-Volume (ASM Books)
95 Reviews
Principles of Virology, Multi-Volume (ASM Books)
  • Flint, Jane (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1136 Pages - 11/03/2020 (Publication Date) - ASM Press (Publisher)

This title covers the entire spectrum of viruses and how they infect their hosts as well as how they interact with their hosts. It covers how viruses reproduce and even overwhelm their host’s body defenses as well as how to diagnose and manage the disorders they cause in their hosts. 

Written to meet the academic and professional needs of medical students, specialist residents and fellows, clinical virologists, as well as science laboratory technicians, this is the best virology textbook to have for success. This edition features color images, exciting illustrations, video interviews on its designated website, links to relevant blogposts, quick references, and learning puzzles among other interesting aspects. 

  • Author(s): Jane Flint; Vincent Racaniello; Glenn Rall; Theodora Hatziioannou; and Anna Marie Skalka  
  • Publisher: ASM Press  
  • Current Edition: Paperback, 5th Edition (November, 2020) 
  • Pages: 1,136

2. Virology: Principles and Applications

Virology: Principles and Applications
83 Reviews
Virology: Principles and Applications
  • Carter, John (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 400 Pages - 05/06/2013 (Publication Date) - Wiley (Publisher)

Virology: Principles and Applications is written to introduce users to the world of viruses, their types and composition, their structures and mode of infections, their multiplication in their hosts and how they interact with their hosts, as well as managing them effectively when they cause sicknesses in their hosts. 

In this 2nd edition, users are made to understand the “relevance of virology in the modern world, including the fields of vaccines, anti-viral drugs, and cancer.” While there is a section on flu virus as well as prions, other chapters have been updated and revised to reflect the latest advancements in virology research and application.

  • Author(s): John Carter and Venetia Saunders  
  • Publisher: Wiley  
  • Current Edition: Paperback, 2nd Edition (May, 2013) 
  • Pages: 400

3. Fields Virology: Emerging Viruses

Fields Virology: Emerging Viruses
57 Reviews
Fields Virology: Emerging Viruses
  • Hardcover Book
  • Howley MD, Peter M. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1256 Pages - 04/17/2020 (Publication Date) - LWW (Publisher)

According to the specialist authors, Fields Virology: Emerging Viruses is the “authoritative, up-to-date reference book for virologists, infectious disease specialists, microbiologists, and physicians as well as medical students pursuing a career in infectious diseases.” In its 7th edition, this virology textbook focuses on emerging viruses and viral diseases that are relatively unknown or understudied in medical schools.

This textbook covers virus structure, entry, multiplication, assembly, virus-host cell interactions, vaccines, immune responses in hosts, antiviral therapeutics, as well as immunizations among others. Featuring more than 500 full-color images and illustrations, this edition contains review evaluations, quick references, glossary of terms, and available in digital formats. This book is recommended for all medical students and specialist practitioners among others. 

  • Author(s): Peter Howley; David Knipe; and Sean Whelan  
  • Publisher: LWW  
  • Current Edition: Hardcover, 7th Edition (April, 2020) 
  • Pages: 1,256

4. Human Virology

Human Virology
30 Reviews
Human Virology
  • Collier, Leslie (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 48 Pages - 08/01/2016 (Publication Date) - Oxford University Press (Publisher)

Sectioned into two parts, Human Virology in its 5th edition introduces users to vast world of viruses and the diseases they cause. The first part covers the principles and properties of viruses and the second part provides insights into virus categories and how they impact their hosts. Other sections of the book focus on vaccination, antiviral chemotherapy, and laboratory research techniques among other things.

Featuring color images and illustrative charts as well as review evaluations and quick references, this virology textbook remains the best academic and professional virology resource for residents, doctors, specialists, and general practitioners. Exploring the molecular and clinical aspects of the study of virology, even laboratory scientists can know more about viruses and how to manage their manifestations. 

  • Author(s): Leslie Collier; John Oxford; and Paul Kellam  
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press  
  • Current Edition: Paperback, 5th Edition (August, 2016) 
  • Pages: 48

5. Virology

38 Reviews
  • SARAVANAN, P. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 436 Pages - 05/10/2019 (Publication Date) - MJP Publishers (Publisher)

Virology provides insights into the thousands of viruses there are and the life-threatening diseases they cause in human, plant, and animal hosts. This virology textbook focuses on DNA viruses, RNA viruses, and emerging viruses and how they behave in specific conditions when they invade a host. This textbook introduces users to diagnosing and treating viral diseases as well as preventing their spread through vaccinations, antiviral therapeutics, and immunotherapy among others.

  • Author(s): S. Saravanan  
  • Publisher: MJP Publishers  
  • Current Edition: Paperback (May, 2019) 
  • Pages: 436

6. Fenner and White’s Medical Virology

Fenner and White's Medical Virology
10 Reviews
Fenner and White's Medical Virology
  • Hardcover Book
  • Burrell, Christopher J. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 604 Pages - 12/14/2016 (Publication Date) - Academic Press (Publisher)

If you fall into the category of a medical student, intern on residency, science teacher, research scholar, or your job is related to public health, scientific investigation, and clinical biologist among others, then this is the textbook you require to advance to the next stage of your pursuits.

This virology textbook covers the structure and categories of viruses, their transmission and multiplication, how they cause diseases, their diagnosis and how to manage their ailments. This academic resource integrates cell biology, medical epimemiology, and human health in one edition. It also examines emerging viruses and how they may cause the next major epidemic or pandemic.

Featuring numerous color images and charts as well as illustrations, this edition also contains quick references, review sessions, clinical case studies, as well as topical contributions from topmost virologists and medical researchers. This book is recommended for all virology students and medical experts who must deal with bacteria, fungi, and viral diseases in patients visiting the consulting room. 

  • Author(s): Christopher Burrell; Colin Howard; and Frederick Murphy  
  • Publisher: Academic Press  
  • Current Edition: Hardcover, 5th Edition (December, 2016) 
  • Pages: 604