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Discovery of Viruses by Dmitri Ivanovsky (1892)

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In 1892, Russian botanist Dmitri Ivanovsky discovered viruses, redefining biology and marking the start of virology and a new era in medical science.

Ivanovsky’s discovery occurred while investigating the cause of the tobacco mosaic disease. He found that the disease was caused by an agent smaller than bacteria, which could pass through the finest filters. This mysterious agent, invisible under the microscope, was capable of infecting healthy plants.

This finding challenged the prevailing belief that all infectious diseases were caused by bacteria. Ivanovsky’s work suggested the existence of a new type of infectious agent, which he termed a “virus,” derived from the Latin word for “poison.”

The discovery of viruses dramatically impacted medicine and biology, leading to identifying viral diseases in humans, animals, and plants. Ivanovsky’s work established virology as a scientific field, advancing our understanding and treatment of viral infections.

The study of viruses is vital for tackling global health issues, ranging from common illnesses to pandemics. Ivanovsky’s discovery highlights the impact of scientific exploration in uncovering nature’s hidden mysteries.

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