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Articles on Viruses

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Bird flu is transmitted mainly by wild birds, like these snow geese in Ruthsberg, Md., in January 2023. Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

As bird flu continues to spread in the US and worldwide, what’s the risk that it could start a human pandemic? 4 questions answered

Avian influenza viruses have evolved to infect birds, but the current H5N1 outbreak is also infecting a wide range of mammals. This suggests that it could mutate into forms that threaten humans.
Wild birds like pelicans and ducks are getting infected with – and dying from – a new strain of avian influenza and have spread it to farm animals around the world. Klebher Vasquez/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

What is spillover? Bird flu outbreak underscores need for early detection to prevent the next big pandemic

A biologist who studies how viruses spread from animals to people explains the process of spillover and the risks posed by the new bird flu that has spread across the globe.
Many viruses interact with the olfactory system, and can damage other areas of the brain through it. Mohammed Haneefa Nizamudeen/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Vaccination to prevent dementia? New research suggests one way viral infections can accelerate neurodegeneration

Inflammation and damage to the olfactory system from shingles, COVID-19 and herpes infections may contribute to Alzheimer’s disease.
Cells secrete exosomes carrying molecules that play a critical role in both health and disease. Meletios Verras/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Chickenpox and shingles virus lying dormant in your neurons can reactivate and increase your risk of stroke – new research identified a potential culprit

People with an active case of shingles have up to an 80% higher risk of stroke than those without. The increased risk is highest for patients under 40.
Imaging the proteins on the surface of HCV has been challenging because of the virus’s shape-shifting nature. Juan Gaertner/Science Photo Library via Getty Images

Scientists uncovered the structure of the key protein for a future hepatitis C vaccine – here’s how they did it

Using a Nobel Prize-winning technique called cryo-EM, researchers were able to identify potential areas on the hepatitis C virus that a vaccine could target.
Healthy turkeys on a farm in West Newfield, Maine. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Bird flu has made a comeback, driving up prices for holiday turkeys

Hunters are warned to take precautions handling wild birds, and the virus can spill over to non-avian species, so no one should approach wild animals that appear ill.

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