Symantec just stated that Ant-Virus is dead. That is a very bold statement, one that I happen not to agree with. The better statement would have been is Anti-Virus is not very effective or is not the only tool needed to maintain a security posture.
While Anti-Virus is not catching the most current attacks and threats, it never really did. The way Anti-Virus makers find viruses is waiting for a sacrificial lamb to get infected, they then can analyze it and then create a signature for it. They then share this signature with other virus manufactures. So it was never a perfect solution.
So with this statement, can you run without Anti-Virus? No, Anti-Virus software can still detect known virus threats and prevent them from infecting your machine. While it might not be detecting all threats these days, it still detects existing threats.
Anti-Virus should not be the only item in your security bag of tricks that you rely on. You should also make sure you have a good URL filter to block access to known bad sites. If you really want to get aggressive, you can block access to unknown and unclassified websites. This would allow you to prevent people from going to a site a hacker/attacker just created.
You should also get a high quality spam filter that looks for threats in email. I like the spam filter from MacAfee, it is a great product that can help prevent threats from getting into your network. You should really never click a link in email from a bank or someone you don’t know. Even if it is someone you know, you need to trust but verify.
Finally, you need to make sure you are patching your machines. Most Malware/Spyware take advantage of systems that are not patched. So make sure you are applying the latest security patches.
You cannot rely on just one item to keep you secure, it is a process.