The Long Journey to Resolve the Origins of a Previous Pandemic
The Long Journey to Resolve the Origins of a Previous Pandemic
Dozens of researchers, including myself, worked for years to uncover that swine flu had leapt to humans from a pig in Mexico in 2009. We learned a lot about influenza evolution, pig farming, and outbreak risk along the way.
The Long Journey to Resolve the Origins of a Previous Pandemic
The Long Journey to Resolve the Origins of a Previous Pandemic

Dozens of researchers, including myself, worked for years to uncover that swine flu had leapt to humans from a pig in Mexico in 2009. We learned a lot about influenza evolution, pig farming, and outbreak risk along the way.

Dozens of researchers, including myself, worked for years to uncover that swine flu had leapt to humans from a pig in Mexico in 2009. We learned a lot about influenza evolution, pig farming, and outbreak risk along the way.

virus evolution
The Pandemic Crushed the Flu—What Happens When It Returns?
The Pandemic Crushed the Flu—What Happens When It Returns?
Diana Kwon | Jul 7, 2021
Cases of influenza and other respiratory viruses sank dramatically during the pandemic, with potential implications for both people and pathogens.  
What Scientists Know About the B.1.617 Coronavirus Variant
What Scientists Know About the B.1.617 Coronavirus Variant
Shawna Williams | May 3, 2021
While some experts speculate the variant could be partially responsible for India’s current surge in SARS-CoV-2 infections, information about the effects of its mutations is only beginning to emerge.
Some Viruses Use an Alternative Genetic Alphabet
Some Viruses Use an Alternative Genetic Alphabet
Abby Olena | Apr 29, 2021
In a trio of studies, researchers follow up on a 40-year-old finding that certain bacteriophages replace adenine with so-called diaminopurine, perhaps to avoid host degradation.
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Ebola Outbreak in Guinea Originated from Past Epidemic
Ebola Outbreak in Guinea Originated from Past Epidemic
Asher Jones | Mar 15, 2021
Genetic analyses suggest that the virus came from a patient who survived the 2013–2016 West African outbreak.
Q&A: A Molecular Toolkit to Build SARS-CoV-2 Research Capacity
Q&A: A Molecular Toolkit to Build SARS-CoV-2 Research Capacity
Asher Jones | Mar 3, 2021
Sam Wilson discusses a user-friendly set of resources that he and his collaborators developed to aid labs pivoting to study COVID-19.
Data Hint B.1.1.7 Could Be More Deadly Than Thought
Data Hint B.1.1.7 Could Be More Deadly Than Thought
Shawna Williams | Jan 25, 2021
In addition to being more transmissible, the variant now dominant in the UK may be about 30 percent more deadly than previous strains, but much uncertainty remains.
SARS-CoV-2 Genetic Variant May Be More Transmissible
SARS-CoV-2 Genetic Variant May Be More Transmissible
Abby Olena | Nov 25, 2020
The so-called 614G mutation in the viral spike protein does not appear to cause more severe cases of COVID-19, but multiple studies indicate that it could be more contagious.
More SARS-CoV-2 Reinfections Reported, But Still a Rare Event
More SARS-CoV-2 Reinfections Reported, But Still a Rare Event
Ashley Yeager | Oct 26, 2020
Repeat COVID-19 cases could offer clues about people’s immunity to the novel coronavirus and how to vaccinate against it.
Characteristics that Give Viruses Pandemic Potential
Characteristics that Give Viruses Pandemic Potential
Anthony King | Aug 17, 2020
A handful of factors tip the scales in making a virus more likely to trigger a disruptive global outbreak. Right now, scientists tend to rank influenza, coronaviruses, and Nipah virus as the biggest threats.
Polio Vaccination Causes More Infections than Wild Virus
Polio Vaccination Causes More Infections than Wild Virus
Jef Akst | Nov 25, 2019
In rare instances, the live virus in oral polio vaccines can mutate and become infectious, causing new outbreaks.
HIV-1 Genome Extracted from 1966 Tissue Sample
HIV-1 Genome Extracted from 1966 Tissue Sample
Nicoletta Lanese | Aug 19, 2019
Scientists spent five years reconstructing what is now the oldest HIV-1 genome yet recovered.
Image of the Day: Ringspots
Image of the Day: Ringspots
Carolyn Wilke | Jan 25, 2019
Tiny insects carry the tomato spotted wilt virus, which causes infected plants to develop discolored ring-shape blotches.
Ancient Humans Had Hepatitis B
Ancient Humans Had Hepatitis B
Abby Olena | May 9, 2018
Analyses of more than 300 ancient human genomes show that Hepatitis B virus has infected humans for at least 4,500 years and has much older origins than modern viral genomes would suggest.
Pathway to Polio Virulence Revealed
Pathway to Polio Virulence Revealed
Ashley P. Taylor | Mar 23, 2017
Using epidemiological and laboratory data, scientists have mapped out a sequence of mutations through which the attenuated oral polio vaccine reverts to a virulent virus.
Evolution of H7N9
Evolution of H7N9
Erin Weeks | Sep 20, 2013
Genetic diversity helped avian influenza A viruses make the leap from birds to humans, researchers report.
Catching the Cold
Catching the Cold
Fred Adler | Feb 1, 2013
Tracking the genetic diversity and evolution of rhinoviruses can lead to a better understanding of viral evolution, the common cold, and more dangerous infections.
Special Review for H5N1 Grants?
Special Review for H5N1 Grants?
Jef Akst | Dec 4, 2012
The National Institutes of Health reveals a controversial plan to regulate the funding of H5N1 research.
The Plastic Genome
The Plastic Genome
Beth Marie Mole | Dec 1, 2012
The poxvirus stockpiles genes when it needs to adapt.
RNA-DNA Virus Hybrid Found
Sabrina Richards | Apr 20, 2012
Researchers discovered a virus produced from recombination between RNA and DNA viruses, suggesting a possible new mechanism of virus evolution.