Articles on SARS

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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.
When a man was diagnosed with Ebola in Dallas in 2014, workers cleared out the apartment unit where he had been staying. Reuters/Jim Young

How Trump’s global health budget endangers Americans

President Trump wants to slash global health funding at a time when more investment is needed, not less. This spending can protect Americans – as well as foreigners – from deadly diseases.
South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma is part of a faction which embraces patronage politics. Reuters/Mike Hutchings

Economic exclusion feeds the politics of patronage in South Africa

It is common to reduce the politics of the ANC to a battle between personalities. A closer look suggest that this is a fight between two factions, both of them products of trends in the economy.
As part of pandemic preparation, in the early 2000s many countries amassed large stockpiles of the influenza neuraminidase inhibitor Tamiflu. Tony Hisgett/Flickr

Controversies in medicine: the rise and fall of the challenge to Tamiflu

One of the biggest recent controversies in medicine involves the effectiveness of the antiviral drug Tamiflu. Governments have stockpiled the drug but many have raised doubts about its usefulness.
Children in particular experience a multitude of viral illnesses during their early years. MIKI Yoshihito/Flickr

Health Check: when are we most likely to catch viral diseases?

Viruses cause all kinds of infections from relatively mild cases of the flu to deadly outbreaks of Ebola. Clearly, not all viruses are equal and one of these differences is when you can infect others.
Avoiding contact with people who have respiratory infections – and are coughing or sneezing – is the key to protection. Jina K/Shutterstock

Explainer: what is the MERS outbreak in South Korea?

Twelve years ago the world was threatened by an outbreak of a new coronavirus called SARS. MERS belongs to the same virus family and has killed 19 people in South Korea.
In this photo a researcher from the virology institute at the Bonn Faculty of Medicine looks at cell cultures. Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

Explainer: what exactly is coronavirus?

If you’ve never heard of coronaviruses before, you may know about some of the illnesses different types of they can cause, like SARS, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and the common cold.
Some rat, possum and mozzie species thrive when living close to people. Mark Philpott/Flickr

Urbanisation brings animals and diseases closer to home

Our world is becoming increasingly urbanised. In 1950, just 30% of the world’s population lived in urban areas. This number is now over 50% and rising. By 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population are…
It’s unclear whether Spanish dog Excalibur, pictured here with owner Javier Limon (husband of Ebola-infected nurse Teresa Ramos), was infected. EFE/PACMA

We still don’t know if domestic animals can spread Ebola

Spanish authorities have euthanised the dog of Madrid nurse Teresa Romero Ramos, who contracted Ebola. The 12-year-old dog, Excalibur, was not showing symptoms and was not tested for Ebola. But he lived…
When you hear hooves, shout camel, not bioterrorist. Delpixel/Flickr

Middle East respiratory virus came from camels, not terrorists

The Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a tiny, spiky package of fat, proteins and genes that was first found in a dying man in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2012. Since then, we…

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