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Articles on Pathogens

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The sticky biofilms that form on microplastics can harbor disease-causing pathogens and help them spread. Tunatura/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Disease-causing parasites can hitch a ride on plastics and potentially spread through the sea, new research suggests

Normally land-bound pathogens that cause deadly diseases for both humans and animals can cling to microplastics and end up in your seafood.
A virus’s genes hold a record of where it’s traveled, and when. imaginima/E+ via Getty Images

Charting changes in a pathogen’s genome yields clues about its past and hints about its future

After a nose swab tests positive for a virus or bacteria, scientists can use the sample’s genetic sequence to figure out where and when the pathogen emerged and how fast it’s changing.
Security precautions, thoughtful facilities design, careful training and safe lab practices help keep pathogens isolated. Boston University Photography

We work with dangerous pathogens in a downtown Boston biocontainment lab – here’s why you can feel safe about our research

The microbiologist who directs the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories at Boston University explains all the biosafety precautions in place that help him feel safer in the lab than out.
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.
To stop the spread of COVID-19 across the globe, it’s important to understand the evolutionary imperative that viruses have to spread their genetic material. Dazeley/Getty Images

Think like a virus to understand why the pandemic isn’t over yet – and what the US needs to do to help other countries

Viruses want to pass on their genetic material. Recognizing this about SARS-CoV-2 provides insight into how the world is still vulnerable to COVID-19.
Researchers are working on handheld devices that can signal the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in the air. fotograzia/Moment via Getty Images

The COVID-19 virus can spread through the air – here’s what it’ll take to detect the airborne particles

Miniaturized laboratory equipment is making it easier to identify airborne pathogens in the field, but there’s still work ahead to be able to instantly determine if a room is safe or contaminated.

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