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Books

Vanishing Center: Virulent Zones x A Time of Lost Gods

When I began reading Lyle Fearnley’s Virulent Zones: Animal Disease and Global Health at China’s Pandemic Epicenter (2020), I was struck by an isomorphism of our projects in spite of their apparent distance of themes—pandemic prevention and spirit mediumship, which are often rendered, respectively, global and local in scale. But as Fearnley put it in his book: “the pandemic epicenter …

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Lectures

On the Search for the Origins of COVID-19: A Forum

This article is part of the following series:

More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the origin of the virus causing the disease remains uncertain. The predominant theory is that its emergence in human populations was the result of zoonotic transmission, via an as-yet to be determined animal host. A competing (if still marginal) theory holds that a more likely source of the initial outbreak was an …

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Features

Pandemics are not only caused by viruses

Experts know that coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is of viral origin. But where did the disease-causing virus, SARS-CoV-2, originate? Two compelling theories permeate public discussion over this question at present. Either the initial outbreak involved viral transmission among animals that “spilled over” into human populations, or the novel coronavirus strain accidentally “leaked” out of a high

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Features

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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Features

Cryopolitics of Covid-19

The debate on the origin of the virus causing Covid-19 has so far been framed in terms of a failure of biosecurity: it balances the risk of buying live animals in a wet market against the risk of studying zoonotic viruses in a laboratory. As such, it may at first appear to replicate debates that occurred around artificial mutation (or …

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