Viruses: are they alive?

An analysis of our historical relationship with viruses to understand the reactions to the present pandemic.

miasma illustration large


The miasmas – a frightening name concealing a solid lack of knowledge – were supposed vapours carrying particles of «corrupted matter» that caused infectious diseases.


Powers of 10

Technological advances, such as telescopes and microscopes, have enabled us to enlarge our world, up and down. Microbes are an example of the two scales, small and large.


Little bugs for the little buggers

The main reason for the increase in measles outbreaks and other viral and bacterial diseases in Europe has been the result of the opposition to vaccination.


Our microbe self

Apart from a keystone ingredient to a healthy gut, microbiota also seem to communicate with our brains.

can microbi

A window to the past: the lake Vostok case

At the centre of Antarctica, under Russian Vostok Station (Vostok being Russian for East), and very close to the South Pole, there is an enormous, elongated lake of around 14,000 square kilometres (30% more than the province of Valencia). But it cannot be seen; it


Me, Myself…and my Microbiota

«I am myself plus my circumstance, and if I do not save it, I cannot save myself», wrote Ortega y Gasset in Meditations on Quixote. Our most immediate biological «circumstance» is our microbiota, namely, the host of microbes living in and on our bodies. They


The outbreak of all unruly outbreaks

«The time has come to close the book on infectious diseases. We have basically wiped out infection in the United States». These optimistic words were addressed to the United Nations General Assembly in 1966 by William H. Stewart, the Surgeon General of the United States (leading spokesperson on matters of public health).