By Carl Zimmer
A Planet of Viruses is Carl Zimmer’s eye-opening examine the hidden global of viruses. Zimmer, the preferred technology 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, comparable to Ebola, MERS, and chikungunya virus; new medical discoveries, similar to a hundred-million-year-old virus that contaminated the typical ancestor of armadillos, elephants, and people; and new findings that express why weather swap could lead on to even deadlier outbreaks. Zimmer’s lucid factors and engaging tales show how deeply people and viruses are intertwined. Viruses helped provide upward push to the 1st life-forms, are chargeable for a lot of our such a lot devastating ailments, and may proceed to manage 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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Additional info for A Planet of Viruses: Second Edition
The American writer Sinclair Lewis made Herelle’s radical research the basis of his 1925 best-Â�selling novel Arrowsmith, which Hollywood turned into a movie in 1931. Meanwhile, Herelle developed phage-Â� based drugs sold by the company that’s now known as L’Oreal. People used his phages to treat skin wounds and to cure intestinal infections. But by 1940, the phage craze had come to end. The idea of using live viruses as medicine had made many doctors uneasy. When antibiotics were discovered in the 1930s, those doctors responded far more enthusiastically, because antibiotics were not alive; they were just artificial chemicals and proteins produced by fungi and bacteria.
Proctor’s figure far exceeded previous estimates. But when other scientists followed up on her work and carried out their own surveys, they ended up with similar figures. They came to agree that there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000 viruses in the ocean. It is hard to find a point of comparison to make sense of such a huge number. Viruses outnumber all other residents of the ocean by about fifteen to one. If you put all the viruses of the oceans on a scale, they would equal the weight of seventy-Â�five million blue whales (there are less than ten thousand blue whales on the entire planet).
It may take only a few mutations for a strain of bird flu to evolve into a new strain of human influenza virus. Reassortment could accelerate the change. No one can say when, or if, any particular strain will make the jump. 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.
A Planet of Viruses: Second Edition by Carl Zimmer