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One positive coming out of HIV. NIAID

How notorious HIV is being hijacked to tackle cancer

HIV is one of the deadliest viruses encountered by humans in recent history and will kill 1.5m people this year alone, compare this to Ebola, for example, which has killed less than 5,000 so far, and you…
Commotion outside house of infected nurse Teresa Ramos near Madrid. EPA

Ebola won’t gain a foothold in Western countries – here’s why

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa is the worst in recorded history. There have been in excess of 7,400 cases and 3,439 deaths, primarily in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. More recently, the spread of…
Time to run. Mytoenailcameoff

Rabies – a global killer that dog jabs can eliminate

Chacha, a farmer and businessman from northern Tanzania, returned home from market one afternoon to find that his family’s newly adopted puppy had bitten five of his children. The puppy had been playful…
A Crimson Rosella (Platycercus elegans) in the wild near Melbourne. Raoul Ribot

Colour variability in Crimson Rosellas is linked to a virus

Despite its name, the Crimson Rosella is perhaps Australia’s most colour-variable bird and a cause of this striking and beautiful diversity seems to be a disease that’s potentially deadly to many other…
Most agree that if an individual is likely to die and an experimental therapy has a reasonable chance to prevent death, then it should be given. EPA/Ahmed Jallanzo

Fast-tracking access to experimental Ebola drugs

The current outbreak of Zaire Ebola virus in Western Africa is the largest ever recorded. More than 1800 people have been infected and nearly 1000 people have died. But while drug therapies are close to…
Liberia’s lack of infrastructure. Ahmed Jallanzo/EPA

Tackling Ebola: isolate, hydrate and educate

Our understanding of Ebola has increased considerably since outbreaks of a mysterious haemorrhagic fever caused by an unknown virus first occurred in Southern Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo…
As long-frozen parts of Earth thaw, it’s inevitable that old viruses will be unearthed. What risks do they have to humans? Gerolf Nikolay/Flickr

Ancient viruses sound scary, but there’s no need to panic

You may have seen recently that scientists recovered and “revived” a giant virus from Siberian permafrost (frozen soil) that dates back 30,000 years. The researchers raised concerns that drilling in the…
Most biologists argue viruses aren’t alive because they can’t replicate by themselves. Tom Thai/Flikr

Explainer: what is a virus?

It may seem like a fairly fundamental question, but there is still debate over whether viruses should be considered a form of life. The diversity of viral infections is immense. Viruses cause everything…

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