Articles on Viruses

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A virus like SARS can shut down cytokine production, enabling it to multiply to higher levels and causing significant infection and even death. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Kevin Frayer)

Explainer: How the human body first fights off pathogens

We've all endured infections. Here's how it works when our bodies are attacked by viruses, bacteria or parasites, and our innate immune system becomes the first line of defence.
These migratory pied imperial-pigeons in Far North Queensland, like many of Australia’s 22 species of native pigeons and doves, play an important role in our ecosystems but may be at risk from emerging viruses in domestic pigeons. Dejan Stojanovic

Are Australia’s native pigeons sitting ducks?

Two recently emerging viruses in domestic pigeons in Australia may pose a significant threat to Australia's 22 species of native pigeons and doves, many of which have crucial ecosystem roles.
Just as organisms that infect us make changes in us - we too make changes in them and they grow and adapt to their human hosts. from www.shutterstock.com

How we change the organisms that infect us

Humans play host to many little passengers. Right now, you’re incubating, shedding or have already been colonised by viral, bacterial, parasitic or fungal microorganisms - perhaps even all of them.
Medical workers move a woman, who is suspected of having Ebola, upon her arrival at Meioxeiro Hospital, in Vigo, northwestern Spain, 28 October 2015. SALVADOR SAS (EPA)/ AAP

Speaking with: Peter Doherty about infectious disease pandemics

Professor Peter Doherty on infectious disease pandemics. The Conversation, CC BY-ND47.6 MB (download)
William Isdale speaks with the University of Melbourne's Professor Peter Doherty about infectious disease pandemics.
Computers may play an important role in preparing us for the next viral outbreak – whether flu or Ebola. UW Institute for Protein Design

Designing antiviral proteins via computer could help halt the next pandemic

This antivirus software protects health, not computers. Researchers are beginning to combat deadly infections using computer-generated antiviral proteins – a valuable tool to fight a future pandemic.
Health centre in Sainte Dominique, Dakar, Senegal. Jean-Jacques Lemasson/IRD

How hepatitis became a hidden epidemic in Africa

Viral hepatitis sheds light on key challenges faced by health system in Africa and how social and culture factors can help in prevention.
What if it wasn’t back to the drawing board every year for a new flu shot? Andrew Kelly/Reuters

Influenza: The search for a universal vaccine

Flu virus mutates so quickly that one year's vaccine won't work on the next year's common strains. But a new way to create vaccines, called 'rational design,' might pave the way for more lasting solutions.

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