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Why we have virus outbreaks

June 11, 2009

Quick, when did HIV enter the human population?  Answer, a lot earlier than most people thought.  Check out this fascinating TED talk from Nathan Wolfe.  In it we learn what a virus hunter means when he talks about “field work”:

With a multi-decade head start, we didn’t see HIV coming.  And the same process of zoonotic disease transmission that brought us HIV, Marburg, SARS, bird flu and swine flu is ongoing today.  The exciting part is that it’s now possible to catch the process in the act, before the viruses really adapt to humans, and maybe not be caught flat-footed by the next big one.  (H/T GrrlScientist)

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  1. June 11, 2009 at 08:23 | #1

    Between my son, SEB, and you George I am educated in many subjects that I normally wouldn’t come contact with.  I thank you both.

  2. June 11, 2009 at 09:17 | #2

    There’s a fascinating book on the subject by the name of “And the Band Played On”.  I highly recommend it.  It’s utterly depressing but definitely worth the read.

  3. June 12, 2009 at 05:35 | #3

    Before I started watching this video I was thinking to myself, how the hell are we going to be preemptive about viruses coming out of Africa. The answer was so simple and basically came down to thinking outside of the box. This type of work is certainly the one thing that keeps us from having a “12 Monkeys” type future.

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