Bill Gates: Highly Infectious Viruses are the “Greatest Risk of Human Catastrophe”

“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 […]

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Book Review: The Hot Zone

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 […]

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The Film Star: Nipah Virus

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 […]

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Going Airborne

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 […]

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Blame the Camels: MERS-CoV

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 […]

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H7N9: The Silent Killer

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 […]

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