COVID-19 and Emerging Viral Diseases: the journey from animals to humans

by Ziqi Chen figures by Rebecca Senft We live in a universe of viruses. It is estimated that there are billions of types of viruses on earth, and ~320,000 types that infect mammals alone. Many viral species exist in our surrounding environment. As we live, breathe, eat, talk, and go about our daily activities, the number of viruses that we come into contact with is virtually … Continue reading COVID-19 and Emerging Viral Diseases: the journey from animals to humans

The Actual Master of Disguise: The Flu

Influenza A is the virus responsible for the Spanish Flu pandemic, which wiped out 3-5% of the human population in the early 20th century. The annual influenza outbreak occurs in the autumn and winter, although it is not normally deadly for healthy adults. There is currently no vaccine providing permanent protection against influenza A because the virus mutates and changes so often, requiring a yearly … Continue reading The Actual Master of Disguise: The Flu

Why Mosquitoes Like You The Most

Carrying diseases such as malaria, West Nile virus and yellow fever, a few species of mosquitoes are responsible for more than one million deaths each year. Certain species of mosquitoes actually prefer feeding on humans, and even show preferences between people. A common wives’ tale suggests to kids that mosquitoes prefer sweeter blood (“eat more veggies!”). However, there is no scientific evidence supporting changing your … Continue reading Why Mosquitoes Like You The Most

A Future Cure for the Common Cold?

Early-stage research has identified a compound that stops pesky colds in their tracks – useful as a potential cold cure. Although adults are bothered by an average of 2-3 colds per year, colds can “cause serious complications in people with conditions like asthma and [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease] (COPD),” lead researcher Edward Tate, Chemical Biology Professor at the Imperial College London, told ScienceDaily. “A drug … Continue reading A Future Cure for the Common Cold?

Achoo! Is Adenovirus making you sick this winter?

It’s the middle of February and flu season is in full swing. Perhaps you’ve already experienced the body aches, fever, and fatigue that signal the influenza virus. However, there is a chance that these same symptoms were not caused by the flu. A family of viruses called adenovirus is also making the rounds and resembles the flu. The adenovirus kills significantly fewer people than the … Continue reading Achoo! Is Adenovirus making you sick this winter?

Viruses, not all are bad for you

When you think of viruses, the yearly flu or even the Ebola or Swine flu outbreaks may come to mind. However, not all viruses cause disease – some even provide cures! Adeno-associated virus (AAV) can infect humans, but is not known to cause disease. In other words, this virus is good at getting its genetic information (genes) into human cells. What if its genes were … Continue reading Viruses, not all are bad for you