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Articles on Pathogens

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Bill Chen at San Francisco International Airport after arriving on a flight from Shanghai. Chen said his temperature was screened at the Shanghai airport before he departed. AP Photo/Terry Chea

Airplanes spread diseases quickly – so maybe unvaccinated people shouldn’t be allowed to fly

Air transportation unquestionably spreads disease. Should airlines be more proactive by requiring proof of vaccination? Two experts reflect on the current and former crises.
Researchers Jason McLellan (left) and Daniel Wrapp study the structure of the 2019-nCoV coronavirus. Vivian Abagiu/Univ. of Texas at Austin

Revealed: the protein ‘spike’ that lets the 2019-nCoV coronavirus pierce and invade human cells

US researchers have revealed the molecular ‘key’ that allows the 2019-nCoV virus to gain access to our cells. And they found it is many times more tenacious than the previous SARS virus.
Places where lots of animals come into contact can help pathogens move from species to species. Baloncici/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Re-creating live-animal markets in the lab lets researchers see how pathogens like coronavirus jump species

In the real world, new diseases emerge from complex environments. To learn more about how, scientists set up whole artificial ecosystems in the lab, instead of focusing on just one factor at a time.
What happened to make plague able to cause devastating epidemics, as in this depiction from 1349? Pierart dou Tielt/Wikimedia

Plague was around for millennia before epidemics took hold – and the way people lived might be what protected them

People caught and died from plague long before it caused major epidemics like the Black Death in the middle ages. Could what scientists call cultural resistance be what kept the disease under control?
Thelazia gulosa is an eyeworm parasite that infects cows. But an Oregon woman’s discovery of the worms in her own eye has raised concerns about parasites that jump from animals to humans. (Shutterstock)

How animal parasites find a home in humans

A stomach-churning viral video of an Oregon woman who describes removing cattle eyeworms from her eye has renewed interest in parasites that jump from animals to humans. Here’s all you need to know.

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