By Carl Zimmer
A Planet of Viruses is Carl Zimmer’s eye-opening examine the hidden global of viruses. Zimmer, the preferred technological know-how author and writer of National Geographic’s award-winning web publication The Loom, has up to date this version to incorporate the tales of recent outbreaks, reminiscent of Ebola, MERS, and chikungunya virus; new medical discoveries, corresponding to a hundred-million-year-old virus that contaminated the typical ancestor of armadillos, elephants, and people; and new findings that exhibit why weather switch could lead to even deadlier outbreaks. Zimmer’s lucid factors and interesting tales display how deeply people and viruses are intertwined. Viruses helped supply upward thrust to the 1st life-forms, are chargeable for lots of our so much devastating illnesses, and may proceed to manage our destiny for hundreds of years. completely readable, and as reassuring because it is scary, A Planet of Viruses is a desirable journey of an impressive hidden world.
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Additional info for A Planet of Viruses: Second Edition
But two years later, a Canadian-Â� born doctor named Felix d’Herelle independently made the same discovery, and he was not so resistant. In 1917, Herelle was working as a military doctor, caring for French soldiers dying of dysentery. Dysentery is caused by bacteria known as Shigella. Today, doctors can use antibiotics to kill bacteria, but those drugs would not be discovered until decades after the Great War. To better understand his enemy, Herelle examined the diarrhea produced by the sick soldiers.
As they replicate, they sometimes pick up mutations, and some of those mutations can give them new avenues for infecting resistant bacteria. Scientists can even help phages improve their attacks. They can search through collections of thousands of different phages to find the best weapon for any particular infection, for example. They can even tinker with phage DNA to create phages that can kill in new ways. In 2008, James Collins, a biologist at Boston University, and Tim Lu of MIT published details of the first phage engineered to kill.
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. Antibiotics were also staggeringly effective, often clearing infections in a few days. Pharmaceutical companies abandoned Herelle’s phages and began to churn out antibiotics. With the success of antibiotics, investigating phage therapy seemed hardly worth the effort. Yet Herelle’s dream did not vanish entirely when he died in 1949.
A Planet of Viruses: Second Edition by Carl Zimmer