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Outside the Virus Lab

Scientists have pursued the origins of Covid-19 from the very beginning of the pandemic. In February 2020 the Wuhan Institute of Virology, one of China’s top virus laboratories, published research comparing the SARS-Cov-2 virus to a range of other coronaviruses held in their own collection. Based on the phylogenetic comparison of genome sequences, the Wuhan Institute found

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Thinking pain

Care worker Annika announces that she does not want to go to Mr Moran. “He always complains.” “I’ll go”, says her colleague Robin, and turning to me he says, “I don’t have the intern today so you can come along if you want to see for yourself how it goes”. We head off to assemble the materials for the morning …

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Breaking news! Big Shift in Biomediatization from “Swine Flu” to H3N2 to the Trump Administration’s Attack on Breastfeeding

The H3N2 epidemic didn’t really take off until early January 2018—at least as far as US media coverage is concerned. A crucial marker was the New York Times‘ publication of an op-ed by a prominent germ cold warrior, Michael Osterholm, along with Mark Olshaker, co-author of Deadliest Enemy: Our War against Killer Germs. Osterholm, extensively profiled by Andrew …

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Storage and stockpiling as techniques of preparedness: Managing the bottlenecks of flu pandemics

This article is part of the following series:

In the last twenty years, influenza has been considered by global health experts as a model for the emergence of new pathogens from animal reservoirs. In the logic of zoonoses, human disease is the tip of the iceberg constituted by a wide circulation of viruses – often asymptomatic – in animals; it is often described as an “evolutionary dead-end”. As …

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Books Features

Book Forum — The Viral Network: A Pathography of the H1N1 Influenza Pandemic

This article is part of the following series:

Viral Network

 

In this Book Forum, our commentators respond to Theresa MacPhail’s provocative ethnography of influenza research and public health response, The Viral Network: A Pathography of the H1N1 Influenza Epidemic.  Lyle Fearnley, Katherine A. Mason, Natalie Porter, Adia Benton, and Carlo Caduff reflect on — among other issues — the place and privileging of the laboratory, the simultaneously limiting …

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Books

Lurking beneath the metaphor of viral contagion in The Viral Network is an aspect of the viral experience so fundamental as to be absent from much of the explicit discussion in the book: the power to inflict suffering, and to do so differentially. The viral represents connectivity, to be sure, but it also represents the pain and suffering that that …

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