Articles on Viruses

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Bad news on the doorstep. How to stay safe? Shutterstock.

Viruses and malware: are we protecting ourselves adequately?

Like the recent WannaCry, viruses and other hacker software are now part of our digital lives. How big are the threats? How can we protect ourselves?
Bats are the only mammals capable of true flight. Scientists believe flight may influence their immune responses to coronoviruses, which cause fatal diseases such as SARS and MERS in humans. (Shutterstock)

Can bats help humans survive the next pandemic?

Scientific studies show that bats may carry "coronoviruses" causing SARS and MERS - without showing symptoms of disease. Could the bat immune system be key to human survival in future pandemics?
Colleen Burge counts oysters on an oyster aquaculture lease in California. Collin Closek

A deadly herpes virus is threatening oysters around the world

Oysters grow in seawater and filter their food from it, so how do you shield them from waterborne diseases? Scientists are working to develop strains that are resistant to a fast-spreading herpes virus.
When the H3N2 strain dominates, we see bigger flu seasons and cases affecting the elderly more than the young. from shutterstock.com

This may not be the ‘biggest flu season on record’, but it is a big one – here are some possible reasons

By mid-August, the 2017 year had recorded more flu notifications across Australia than the previous five years. So why is the flu season so bad this time around?
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.

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