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Articles on Viruses

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There are even more types of viruses in the ocean than researchers once thought. newannyart/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Researchers identified over 5,500 new viruses in the ocean, including a missing link in viral evolution

Viruses do more than just cause disease – they also influence ecosystems and the processes that shape the planet. Tracing their evolution could help researchers better understand how viruses work.
A woman wears a face mask as she walks by the sculpture ‘The Illuminated Crowd’ on a street in Montréal. Vulnerable people may benefit from measures like face masks even after the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Should public health measures like masking continue beyond the pandemic? Data on viral infections shows their benefits

Decreases in respiratory infections during the pandemic suggest there may be a continued role for the selective, non-mandated use of measures like masks and social distancing even post-COVID-19.
White-tailed deer are one of the few wild species that scientists have found to be infected with the coronavirus – at least so far. Andrew C/WikimediaCommons

Deer, mink and hyenas have caught COVID-19 – animal virologists explain how to find the coronavirus in animals and why humans need to worry

Scientists have been testing captive and wild animals for the coronavirus since the pandemic began. Only a few wild species are known to carry the virus, but many more have been shown to be susceptible.
Disturbing the habitats of horseshoe bats, like these in Borneo, increases the risk of virus spillover. Mike Prince/Flickr

Preventing future pandemics starts with recognizing links between human and animal health

How can nations prevent more pandemics like COVID-19? One priority is reducing the risk of diseases’ jumping from animals to humans. And that means understanding how human actions fuel that risk.
Experts estimate that close to 90% of the U.S. population must be vaccinated to reach herd immunity for COVID-19. David McNew/AFP via Getty Images

What is herd immunity? A public health expert and a medical laboratory scientist explain

Vaccination campaigns like the ones that eventually eliminated polio and measles in the United States required decades of education and awareness in order to achieve herd immunity in the U.S. population.

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