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Articles on Virology

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In February 2021, a World Health Organization team investigating the origins of COVID-19 visited the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China. Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images

Why gain-of-function research matters

The research community is taking a closer look at the lab-leak hypothesis for the origin of COVID-19, prompting discussion about the risks and benefits of engineering viruses.
People wearing masks walk in front of Pfizer’s headquarters in New York City. Pfizer and BioNtech are on track with a vaccine that is 90 per cent effective, say preliminary results, but they are not the only ones in the race. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

COVID-19 vaccine update: Pfizer may be the frontrunner, but Canada has hedged its bets

Canada has set aside a total of 414 million doses of different types of vaccine. Some exploit known mechanisms, others are based on previously untested approaches.
A pandemic from a century ago doesn’t necessarily chart the course of the pandemic happening now. National Photo Company Collection/Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division/Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Compare the flu pandemic of 1918 and COVID-19 with caution – the past is not a prediction

Differences in the viruses' biology and societal contexts mean there's no guarantee today's pandemic will mirror the 'waves' of infection a century ago.
Rapid blood tests for coronavirus could fill a large gap in knowledge. Taechit Taechamanodom/Moment via Getty Images

Coronavirus tests are pretty accurate, but far from perfect

Expanding coronavirus testing is one of the most important tasks public health officials are tackling right now. But questions over accuracy of the two main types of tests have rightly caused concern.
Design Cells/Shutterstock

In defence of viruses

While a few are killers, viruses are actually important to human health and incredibly useful in medicine.
SARS-CoV-2 virus particles (pink dots) on a dying cell. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH

What the coronavirus does to your body that makes it so deadly

The new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, spreads faster than the H1N1 influenza virus and is much deadlier. SARS-CoV-2 is particularly skilled at keeping cells from calling out for help.

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