Quote of the day: VIRUS

January 30, 2011


Like snakes, viruses have a reputation as malevolent, poisonous, and deadly. In fact, most snakes are harmless, and dangerous viruses are rare. In order to inflict serious harm, a virus has to clear several biological hurdles. First, it has to remain unrecognized by the human immune system – to evade any protective antibodies. The virus would also need to make human sick. (Most do not.) Finally, it would have to spread efficiently – for example, through coughing, sneezing, or shaking hands. Many viruses fulfill one of these criteria; some fulfill two; far fewer meet all three.

— Michael Specter, “The Doomsday Strain,” in The New Yorker

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: