This Week's Links: What Science Can Tell Us About the Past and Future of Disease

Flickr/bartolomeo - African Buffalo like these were nearly wiped out as a species in the Rinderpest epidemic in the 1890's. But thanks to the efforts of UN scientists, Rinderpest was eradicated in 2010.

Flickr/bartolomeo - African Buffalo like these were nearly wiped out as a species in the Rinderpest epidemic in the 1890's. But thanks to the efforts of UN scientists, Rinderpest was eradicated in 2010.

By Emily Lewis

For once we're talking about the history of disease, and not about making disease history. Modern advances in science have allowed us to chart the genetic code of diseases that plagued mankind for decades. In this case, literally. Researchers are digging up the bodies of "Black Death" victims in London and using them to garner "direct insights into the evolution of human pathogens and historical pandemics."  

If science can do that for the way we see diseases in the past, imagine how it could change the way we see diseases in the future. Already, researchers have invented a game that could use crowdsourcing to help diagnose Malaria, and the day may not be so far off when we have a vaccine for cancer. New technologies are not just changing the way we see disease and the body, but changing what we are able to see

But we couldn't talk about the history of disease without mentioning one of our favorite events in modern history, the eradication of Rinderpest. Yes, all you Germanophiles, it's a cow virus. But we can't help it, we just love when the word "virus" and the phrase "wiped out" appear in the same sentence. At the RWI, we're working hard to make the history of Rinderpest the future of all viruses.

Emily Lewis is a graduate of Gordon College with a degree in Communication Arts and Journalism. She lives outside San Francisco, where she's writing a book about her personal journey coming to understand the will of God in regard to sickness.

Posted on March 4, 2015 and filed under Blog, Third 30.