A Planet of Viruses: Second Edition by Carl Zimmer

By Carl Zimmer

The previous yr has been one in all viral panic—panic about viruses, that's. via headlines, public overall healthiness warnings, and no less than one home made hazmat go well with, we have been reminded of the robust strength of viruses. they're the smallest dwelling issues recognized to technological know-how, but they could carry the complete planet of their sway.
A Planet of Viruses is Carl Zimmer’s eye-opening examine the hidden global of viruses. Zimmer, the preferred technological know-how author and writer of National Geographic’s award-winning web publication The Loom, has up-to-date this variation to incorporate the tales of recent outbreaks, equivalent to Ebola, MERS, and chikungunya virus; new clinical discoveries, comparable to a hundred-million-year-old virus that contaminated the typical ancestor of armadillos, elephants, and people; and new findings that exhibit why weather swap could lead to even deadlier outbreaks. Zimmer’s lucid motives and interesting tales reveal how deeply people and viruses are intertwined. Viruses helped provide upward push to the 1st life-forms, are answerable for lots of our so much devastating ailments, and may proceed to regulate our destiny for hundreds of years. completely readable, and as reassuring because it is horrifying, A Planet of Viruses is a desirable travel of a powerful hidden world.

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But we are not helpless as we influenza’s never-Â�ending reinvention 23 wait to see what evolution has in store for us. We can do things to slow the spread of the flu, such as washing our hands. And scientists are learning how to make more effective vaccines by tracking the evolution of the flu virus so they can do a better job of predicting which strains will be most dangerous in flu seasons to come. We may not have the upper hand over the flu yet, but at least we no longer have to look to the stars to defend ourselves.

Just as they had suspected, the mutant cells started to churn out the avian leukosis virus. In other words, these healthy chickens were not simply infected with avian leukosis virus in some of their cells; the genetic instructions for making the virus were implanted in all of their cells, and they passed those instructions down to their descendants.

It would make a good name for a pleasant, ancient Italian village. Influenza is, in fact, Italian (it means influence). It is also, in fact, an ancient name, dating back to the Middle Ages. But the charming associations stop there. Medieval physicians believed that stars influenced the health of their patients, sometimes causing a mysterious fever that swept across Europe every few decades. Influenza has continued to burden the world with periodic devastation. In 1918, a particularly virulent outbreak of the flu infected 500 million people—Â�a third of humanity at the time—Â�and killed an estimated 50 million 19 people.

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