“What’s the greatest risk to humanity?” It’s a classic question, one that is sure to ignite debate in the lethargic too-full-to-move hours following a particularly good Sunday lunch. Hollywood likes to play on this question too, with stories featuring aliens hell-bent on destroying the world or natural disasters tearing it apart. But in a recent […]Read more "Bill Gates: Highly Infectious Viruses are the “Greatest Risk of Human Catastrophe”"
Catastrophic events are sometimes useful for the lessons they teach us. Like when the local football team you play for got thrashed 15-0 and from that moment on you unanimously decided never to play Jim in goal again. These disasters are useful because they give you tangible examples of what to avoid at all costs in the […]Read more "The disease that dwarfed a war: Spanish Flu"
If you’re ever in a bit of a tricky situation, just think to yourself “at least I’m not elbow deep in Ebola-infected monkey blood with a hole in my glove.” This is one of the many tricky situations encountered by Nancy Jaax, one of the brave (some would say unhinged) Ebola researchers that Robert Preston […]Read more "Book Review: The Hot Zone"
Yes that is Matt Damon looming at you from above. Although forming the basis of a Hollywood film about a pandemic is not usually a criterion taken into account, I reckon it should push the pandemic potential of a virus up a point or two. The virus in question is called Nipah, and the way it […]Read more "The Film Star: Nipah Virus"
Everyone’s been there. You’re on a packed bus at rush hour and the person next to you begins a valiant attempt to cough up their lung. You attempt to distance yourself but are blocked in every direction by a wall of jacket-clad businessmen and pram-pushing families, who are also looking worriedly at the the hacking mess […]Read more "Going Airborne"
Spitting, vicious kicking or possibly bucking unprepared tourists from the saddle. These are the ways most people consider camels to be a potential hazard. However, not many are aware that our hump-backed friends may be carrying a virus that has killed over 400 people in the last 3 years. The virus in question is called Middle Eastern respiratory system coronavirus […]Read more "Blame the Camels: MERS-CoV"
H7N9 is a particular variant of flu that first reared its ugly head in China in 2013 and has been worrying people ever since. A recent World Health Organisation (WHO) assessment reports that the virus has infected a total of 571 people, killing 212. To understand the threat posed by H7N9, it is first important […]Read more "H7N9: The Silent Killer"