Tag: Viruses

Most People With Coronavirus Won’t Spread It. Why Do a Few Infect Many?

At a May 30 birthday party in Texas, one man reportedly infected 18 friends and family with the coronavirus. Reading reports like these, you might think of the virus as a wildfire, instantly setting off epidemics wherever it goes. But other reports tell another story altogether. In Italy, for example, scientists looked at stored samples […]

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What Have We Learned About Reopening?

This article is part of the Debatable newsletter. You can sign up here to receive it Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that New York City, which was once the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, will proceed with its second phase of reopening next week. Diners will eat on restaurant patios, […]

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Amid a Pandemic, ‘Batman’ Matters More Than Ever

SINGAPORE — The bat is considered lucky in China; the words for bat and good fortune sound alike in Chinese. But Wang Linfa didn’t give much thought to the order Chiroptera while growing up in Shanghai in the 1960s and ’70s, when the main sign of nighttime life was the soft whir of commuters bicycling […]

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Mutation Allows Coronavirus to Infect More Cells, Study Finds. Scientists Urge Caution.

For months, scientists have debated why one genetic variation of the coronavirus became dominant in many parts of the world. Many scientists argue that the variation spread widely by chance, multiplying outward from explosive outbreaks in Europe. Others have proposed the possibility that a mutation gave it some kind of biological edge and have been […]

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Special Episode: The Latest From Minneapolis

As protests spread over the death of George Floyd, the former officer at the center of the case has been charged with murder. We listen in on the demonstrations, and examine why this tragedy — though too familiar — may be a turning point. On today’s episode: Video transcript Back transcript Minneapolis Precinct Fire: How […]

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Coronavirus Contact Tracing Jobs Are on the Rise

When Jessica Jaramillo calls someone to talk about the coronavirus, she usually starts with something like this: “Hi, my name is Jessica. I’m calling on behalf of the San Francisco Department of Public Health. I’m part of a contact-tracing team, and our job is to reach people who have come into close contact with someone […]

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Did a Mutation Turbocharge the Coronavirus? Not Likely, Scientists Say

All viruses mutate, and the coronavirus is no exception. But there is no compelling evidence yet that it is evolving in a way that has made it more contagious or more deadly. A preprint study — posted online, but not published in a scientific journal and not yet peer-reviewed — has set the internet afire […]

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How Remdesivir, New Hope for Covid-19 Patients, Was Resurrected

Remdesivir, an antiviral drug designed to treat both hepatitis and a common respiratory virus, seemed fated to join thousands of other failed medications after proving useless against those diseases. The drug was consigned to the pharmaceutical scrap heap, all but forgotten by the scientists who once championed it. But on Friday, the Food and Drug […]

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The Coronavirus Vaccine May Have a Shortcut: Infecting Volunteers

This article is part of the Debatable newsletter. You can sign up here to receive it Tuesdays and Thursdays. Scientists at Oxford University’s Jenner Institute raised hopes this week when they announced plans to expand testing for a potential coronavirus vaccine that if proven effective could be ready for emergency use as soon as September. […]

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Old Drugs May Find a New Purpose: Fighting the Coronavirus

In the early 1950s, psychiatrists began treating schizophrenia with a new drug called chlorpromazine. Seven decades later, the drug is still used as an anti-psychotic. But now scientists have discovered that the drug, also known as Thorazine, can do something entirely different. It can stop the new coronavirus that causes Covid-19 from invading cells. Driven […]

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Animal Viruses Are Jumping to Humans. Forest Loss Makes It Easier.

The destruction of forests into fragmented patches is increasing the likelihood that viruses and other pathogens will jump from wild animals to humans, according to a study from Stanford University published this month. The research, which focused on contact between humans and primates in western Uganda, holds lessons for a world reeling from the coronavirus […]

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When Will There Be a Treatment for the Coronavirus?

This article is part of the Debatable newsletter. You can sign up here to receive it Tuesdays and Thursdays. For all of modern medicine’s advances, the immune system is still largely on its own when it comes to viruses: Of the 200 or so types that are known to infect humans, only about 10 have […]

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Lawrence Wright Saw a Pandemic Coming

The epidemic begins in a teeming country in Asia, but despite the efforts of the government to contain it, it soon spreads throughout the world. Some victims experience an uncontrolled immune response called a cytokine storm, causing them to drown in their own fluids. In America, schools close as citizens shelter at home. Grocery store […]

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Significance of Pangolin Viruses in Human Pandemic Remains Murky

Pangolins, once suspected as the missing link from bats to humans in the origin of the coronavirus pandemic, may not have played that role, some scientists say, although the animals do host viruses that are similar to the new human coronavirus. Peter Daszak, the president of EcoHealth Alliance, an organization that works on animal-to-human spillover […]

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Seven Important Things to Know About Coronaviruses

In the past two decades, coronaviruses have produced three deadly global epidemics: SARS, MERS and now Covid-19. If you’re wondering what it is about this family of viruses that makes it produce such deadly pathogens — and what about them might hinder their spread — here are a few things you should know. 1. They […]

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Coronavirus Treatment: Hundreds of Scientists Scramble to Find One

Working at a breakneck pace, a team of hundreds of scientists has identified 50 drugs that may be effective treatments for people infected with the coronavirus. Many scientists are seeking drugs that attack the virus itself. But the Quantitative Biosciences Institute Coronavirus Research Group, based at the University of California, San Francisco, is testing an […]

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Why Soap Works

It probably began with an accident thousands of years ago. According to one legend, rain washed the fat and ash from frequent animal sacrifices into a nearby river, where they formed a lather with a remarkable ability to clean skin and clothes. Perhaps the inspiration had a vegetal origin in the frothy solutions produced by […]

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Why the U.S. Wasn’t Ready for the Coronavirus

Listen and subscribe to our podcast from your mobile device:Via Apple Podcasts | Via Spotify | Via Stitcher Developing a strategy for testing was supposed to be a relatively simple part of preparing for the coronavirus in the United States. So what went wrong? On today’s episode: Sheri Fink, a correspondent for The Times reporting […]

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How Biden Came Back

Listen and subscribe to our podcast from your mobile device: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Play | RadioPublic | Stitcher In the wake of Super Tuesday, has the Democratic presidential primary fight finally winnowed down to Joe Biden versus Bernie Sanders? This week on “The Argument,” the columnists discuss the results of this week’s […]

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Italy Battles to Contain Europe’s First Major Outbreak of Coronavirus

ROME — Government officials scrambled on Sunday to contain the first major outbreak of the coronavirus in Europe, locking down at least 10 towns near Milan, closing schools and canceling the iconic Venice carnival, as nearly 150 cases were announced in recent days. The new cases are mostly in the Lombardy region, which includes Milan, […]

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Coronavirus Lockdowns Torment an Army of Poor Migrant Workers in China

Clutching a gray plastic suitcase filled with most of his belongings — a blanket, a toothbrush, a pair of white sneakers and a comb — Wang Sheng goes from factory to factory in southern China begging for a job. The answer is always no. Mr. Wang, 49, used to be able to find work in […]

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Coronavirus Spreads as New Cases Double in South Korea

Coronavirus spread to more countries and the numbers of new cases and deaths outside of China climbed, with special concern focused on South Korea where the infection count doubled in a single day — raising fears that another Asian country was losing control of the escalating epidemic. By Saturday, the virus had been identified in […]

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With 4 Deaths in Iran and More Cases on 3 Continents, Fears of Coronavirus Pandemic Rise

HONG KONG — An alarming surge of new coronavirus cases outside China, with fears of a major outbreak in Iran, is threatening to transform the contagion into a global pandemic, as countries around the Middle East scrambled to close their borders and continents so far largely spared reported big upticks in the illness. In Iran, […]

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