The 10 Types of Fictional Apocalypses (And What They Mean)

The Apocalypse rules pop culture. Half the biggest literary novels these days are apocalyptic, and meanwhile The Walking Dead is a huge hit. Post-apocalyptic stories are what space opera was in the Space Age. But what are they about? Here are 10 types of apocalypses, and what they each signify. » 10/07/14 10:05am 10/07/14 10:05am

Morgan Freeman Talks To io9 About The Potential For A Zombie Plague

Tonight's episode of Through the Wormhole asks a question near-and-dear to our hearts: Could a zombie apocalypse actually happen? We spoke to host Morgan Freeman and producer Megan Parlen to learn more. » 6/25/14 12:40pm 6/25/14 12:40pm

Creating Mutated Versions Of Viruses Not Worth The Risk, Say Scientists

In the wake of an experiment to see if a mutated form of the H5N1 bird flu could be made transmissible to humans, a pair of biologists are now speaking out about the potential risks posed by such endeavors; they say there's a much greater chance that these viruses could escape from the lab than we've been led to… » 5/21/14 2:20pm 5/21/14 2:20pm

How Devastating Plagues Can Make The People Who Survive Even Stronger

Though it was responsible for tens of millions of European deaths in the mid 14th century, the Medieval Black Death left a surprisingly positive consequence in its wake. According to a new study, surviving generations lived longer and had better health than ever before. » 5/08/14 6:00pm 5/08/14 6:00pm

Are We At The Dawn Of The Age of Epidemics?

Over the past several weeks and months, we've seen a startling number of disease outbreaks pop up around the globe. It's a trend that's not completely surprising — one that could characterize the coming decades as the Age of Epidemics. Here are some of the scariest new diseases you need to know about. » 5/07/14 12:01pm 5/07/14 12:01pm

Scientists say the Black Death 'could happen again'

An international team of researchers has discovered that two of the deadliest pandemics in history, the Plague of Justinian and the Black Plague, were caused by strains of the same plague. They warn that mutated — or even bioengineered — versions of the bacteria could lead to future outbreaks. » 1/28/14 10:39am 1/28/14 10:39am

The Deadliest Potential Pandemics Facing The World Right Now

Scientists and health experts at the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control are constantly on guard against diseases that could sweep through the human population. Which pandemics are they most worried about, heading into 2014? » 12/24/13 3:30pm 12/24/13 3:30pm

Get ready for the banana pandemic to destroy your favorite fruit

A highly-contagious form of fungus sometimes called Panama disease has devastated crops in Asia, and has now been found in Mozambique. It sounds like a joke, but this pandemic is deadly serious and could affect the world's fruit supply. » 12/23/13 2:37pm 12/23/13 2:37pm

Biologists Deliberately Hold Back Details on Deadly New Toxin

For the first time in over 40 years, scientists have discovered a new form of the toxin responsible for botulism. But they’re keeping many of the details about it a secret for fear that it could be turned into a deadly bioweapon — prompting some scientists to warn that this action can only hold further research back. » 10/11/13 11:20am 10/11/13 11:20am

What you should know about the new avian bird flu

The death toll from a new flu strain in China has now reached six. It's not known if the virus can be transmitted from person to person, but based on what the experts are saying, it’s a development that needs to be taken very seriously. » 4/05/13 2:00pm 4/05/13 2:00pm

Why HIV is More Evil Than We Could Have Imagined

A devastating Salmonella epidemic is ravaging parts of sub-Saharan Africa right now — and it appears that HIV gave this rapidly evolving form of Salmonella a major boost. According to a new study, the African HIV epidemic appears to have provided this strain of Salmonella with a large number of humans with weakened… » 10/02/12 1:30pm 10/02/12 1:30pm

A deadly new strain of bird flu has spread to seals. Could humans be…

We already know that the deadly H5N1 avian flu is only one stabilizing mutation away from being able to spread to humans. But as society nervously anticipates a potential pandemic, we get disturbing news that a different variant of the flu, the equally ominous H3N8, has successfully made the leap from birds to seals. » 7/31/12 12:40pm 7/31/12 12:40pm

Novels that Could Help You Prepare for a Future Pandemic

When you think about pants-wettingly terrifying apocalyptic scenarios, the most horrifying might well be the worldwide plague. A deadly disease could spread around the planet at alarming speed, and kill most of the population before we even knew what was going on. Luckily, some of the best novels (and graphic novels)… » 6/28/12 4:00pm 6/28/12 4:00pm

Scientists cure ebola in monkeys — and humans could be next

Monkeys infected with the Ebola virus have been cured by a chemical cocktail administered 24 hours after the initial exposure. The breakthrough could eventually result in a similar human treatment for this disease, which kills up to 90% of those infected. » 6/13/12 4:30pm 6/13/12 4:30pm

Biochip will help first responders track viral outbreaks in real time

Biomedical engineers at Brown University and Memorial Hospital in Rhode Island have developed a biochip that can detect the presence of influenza and other viruses. The breakthrough will allow emergency workers to be equipped with flu-detection kits, so they can track the spread of viruses in real-time. The device… » 6/11/12 1:11pm 6/11/12 1:11pm

We Need More Science Fiction About Super Bugs — And How To Kill Them

Science fiction should pay more attention to the rise of drug-resistant bacteria and other "super bugs," argues M.G. Ellington at the Science In My Fiction blog. And one of the main breeding grounds for these super bugs may be space. » 5/14/10 4:30pm 5/14/10 4:30pm