Why is tracing the origins of a virus important?

I'm doing a class presentation comparing the movie Contagion to the recent CO-VID19 Pandemic and could use this knowledge as part of my segment.

1 Answer

  • 10 months ago
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    In the fantasy world of a movie, the origin of a virus is always where to discover how to kill it.  Find the original host, and you'll magically find the vaccine or treatment.  

    In the real world, it's a little more complicated.  Tracing the virus to its origin might provide information on how it made the jump from one species to another, and it will let researchers know if and how it has mutated since then.  Viruses are famous for mutating quickly.  The more researchers know about the little details of a virus's life cycle and origins, the more they can work on how to slow it down or even stop it.  

    In movies like Contagion and Outbreak, the virus can be isolated and killed within the two-hour runtime, leaving plenty of room for emotional scenes and the classic eureka moment where the miracle cure is found.  In the real world, that stuff takes months and years.

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