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Articles on Viruses

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Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria and play a potential role in the evolution of life. NANOCLUSTERING/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Science Photo Library via Getty Images

Viruses are both the villains and heroes of life as we know it

Viruses have gotten a bad rap for the many illnesses and pandemics they’ve caused. But viruses are also genetic innovators – and possibly the pioneers of using DNA as the genetic blueprint of life.
Some institutions publish information about their mishaps, while others do not. Peter Kneffel/picture alliance via Getty Images

Reporting all biosafety errors could improve labs worldwide – and increase public trust in biological research

A centralized reporting system for laboratory incidents involving dangerous pathogens in biological research does not exist in the US or internationally.
Vaccination has saved millions of lives throughout the course of history. Phynart Studio/E+ from Getty Images

Millions are rejecting one of humanity’s best weapons for saving lives: Vaccines

Vaccines have successfully curtailed viral diseases for decades. But as COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy shows, mistrust and misinformation continue to put lives at risk.
A security guard leads reporters away from the Wuhan Institute of Virology after a WHO team arrived for a field visit in Wuhan, Hubei province of China, Feb. 3, 2021. The team came to no conclusions about the origins of the pandemic. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Origins of SARS-CoV-2: Why the lab-leak idea is being considered again

Gain-of-function studies make a natural virus more dangerous or transmissible to humans. Could the Wuhan Institute of Virology be the source of SARS-CoV-2?
Eating less animal proteins may help reduce the risk of future zoonotic viruses. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

How plant-based diets could help prevent the next COVID-19

Pandemic viruses arise from raising, harvesting and eating animals. Policy strategy for averting the next pandemic should include supporting those already seeking to make plant-based dietary changes.

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