A Viral View

May 11, 2020

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Anchor lead: What does a virus have to do to succeed? Elizabeth Tracey reports

SARS-CoV2 has an agenda, one that helps it spread from one host to another in a quest to make billions of new copies of itself. Lisa Maragakis, director of infection control at Johns Hopkins, describes what constitutes success from the virus’s perspective.

Maragakis: When you look at a pathogen from a pathogen’s standpoint success is sometimes driven by having a lower mortality rate and being more efficient at transmission from person to person but not killing your host. And that’s what we’ve seen with this virus. We are now in the midst of transmission widespread and in all states in the United States and really around the world. We all know I’m sure the significant challenges we are facing.  :28

Maragakis notes that SARS-CoV2 has a number of advantages in its quest, especially the fact that so many people don’t have symptoms at the beginning of the infection but are making many, many copies of the virus and often spreading it readily. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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