Founded in 1956, Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), was initially named as Wuhan Microbiology Laboratory. It was among the earliest national institutions established after the founding of the New China. In 1961, it became the South China Institute of Microbiology of CAS, and was redesignated as Wuhan Microbiology Institute CAS in 1962. In 1970, under the administration of the Hubei Commission of Science & Technology, it was renamed as Microbiology Institute of Hubei Province. In June 1978, it was returned to the administration of CAS, and adopted its current designation.

Through continuous reorganization and sustained efforts of our researchers, WIV has remained strong in such research fields as microbiology and virology throughout its history. Characterized by persistence and diligence, the scientists in WIV have made great achievements in the studies of virology, applied microbiology and biotechnology by addressing national strategic demands and cutting-edge scientific questions. The achievements marked the S&T strengths of WIV in agricultural and environmental microbiology. In particular, being at the forefront of basic and applied researches on insect viruses, WIV has made great achievements in isolation of insect viruses and production of viral insecticides. For example, WIV developed Helicoverpa armigeranucleopolyhedrovirus (HearNPV) as the first viral insecticide registered in China, which has been widely utilized. WIV has also developed microbiological mosquitocide, contributing much to the control of disease-transmitting mosquitoes. The commercialized standards and application of Bacillus thuringiensis won the 2nd Award for National Science and Technology Progress. Furthermore, WIV developed the first biosensor (Biochemical Oxygen Demand biosensor for the detection of environmental pollution) in China.

Since 2002, by joining the CAS Knowledge Innovation Program, WIV has extended its research areas from agriculture and environment-related fields to medicine-related fields in order to meet the national strategic demand of public health, national security, and sustainable agriculture development. From then on, WIV has undergone major reorganization by means of retaining researches into major disciplines, recruiting and training innovative talents in new disciplines and developing appropriate research platforms. Pathogenic study of emerging infectious diseases has become one of the major research fields. Great achievements have been made in animal origin studies of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and avian influenza viruses.