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Articles on SARS-CoV

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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.
Transmission electron micrograph of particles of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

An exclusive (and imaginary) interview with the coronavirus

The SARS-CoV-2 virus at the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic is one ten-thousandth of a millimeter in diameter. How can such a microscopic organism have such an immense impact on global health?
A worker inspects vials of a SARS CoV-2 vaccine for COVID-19 produced by SinoVac at its factory in Beijing on Sept. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Training our immune systems: Why we should insist on a high-quality COVID-19 vaccine

Our first exposure to a pathogen, either naturally or via vaccination, can affect how our immune system responds in the future to the same or similar pathogens.
COVID-19 has not been as devastating in South Africa as initially feared. Dino Lloyd/Gallo Images via Getty Images

COVID-19 and HIV: so far it seems the outcome is not what was feared

Some insights into previous outbreaks of human coronaviruses may be useful in explaining the comparatively ‘low’ numbers of COVID-19 infections and mortality in people with HIV in South Africa.
SARS-CoV-2 turns on a cellular switch to build the tubes in this photo – called filopodia – that might help viral particles – the little spheres – spread more easily. Dr Elizabeth Fischer, NIAID NIH / Bouhaddou et al. Elsevier 2020

Coronavirus and cancer hijack the same parts in human cells to spread – and our team identified existing cancer drugs that could fight COVID-19

Kinases are cellular control switches. When they malfunction, they can cause cancer. The coronavirus hijacks these kinases to replicate, and cancer drugs that target them could fight COVID-19.
Geoffrey McKillop (front) with his partner Nicola Dallet McConaghie as they left the hospital where he was discharged after surviving coronavirus. Liam McBurney/PA Images via Getty Images

What doctors know about lingering symptoms of coronavirus

Is it possible that people who recover from COVID-19 will be plagued with long term side effects from the infection? An infectious disease physician reviews the evidence so far.
The best-known example of a zoonotic pandemic is HIV/AIDS, which originated from chimpanzees. GettyImages

What zoologists should learn from a zoonotic pandemic

Zoologists have known for decades that some of the most devastating viral infections originate from animals. Their data and research can be used in efforts to prevent pandemics.
Visitors look at new anti-SARS outfits for medical workers on display Thursday Nov. 6, 2003 in Shanghai, China, as the country braced for a resurgence. The disease never made a comeback. AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko

The mysterious disappearance of the first SARS virus, and why we need a vaccine for the current one but didn’t for the other

COVID-19 and SARS are both deadly – but different. SARS symptoms were quick to appear, making it easier to contain. Because health officials were able to contain it, the virus died off.
A black swan event must meet three criteria: it must be an outlier, must have a major impact and must be declared predictable in hindsight. (Buiobuione/Wikimedia)

Coronavirus is significant, but is it a true black swan event?

The danger of treating COVID-19 as an astronomically rare and improbable event is that we will treat it as such and fail to prepare for the next pandemic. And there will be another pandemic.
This Sunda pangolin found throughout Southeast Asia is currently considered to be critically endangered. Piekfrosch / German Wikipedia

Study shows pangolins may have passed new coronavirus from bats to humans

When a new virus emerges and triggers a pandemic, it is important to trace its origins. Knowing more about how the virus jumped species in the first place can help curb future zoonotic diseases.
An employee in Nantong, China, checks the production of chloroquine phosphate, an old drug for the treatment of malaria. Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Could chloroquine treat coronavirus? 5 questions answered about a promising, problematic and unproven use for an antimalarial drug

A medicinal chemist addresses questions about chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine: what it is, whether it is effective against COVID-19 and whether it can treat and/or prevent this disease.

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