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Fungi could destroy humanity, as in The Last of Us: Shocking statement from microbiologist

Fungi could destroy humanity, as in The Last of Us: Shocking statement from microbiologist The professor of microbiology warned about a possible apocalypse due to fungi (Collage RBC-Ukraine)

Professor of Molecular Microbiology, Immunology, and Infectious Diseases Arturo Casadevall stated that the storyline of the series Last of Us was not purely fictional. He suggested that fungi capable of wiping out humanity could emerge on Earth over time.

Professor of microbiology reveals under what conditions fungi can cause an apocalypse, according to Daily Star.

Plot of The Last of Us series

The post-apocalyptic series starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey has captivated audiences.

It depicts what could happen to humanity if a massive fungal epidemic were to engulf the Earth. Those infected by the Cordyceps fungus virus transform into zombie-like beings. Bites and spores infect others, turning them into monsters.

Some people have antibodies or immunity to the fungus and could potentially save humanity.

Those who have managed to survive create closed communities, where they attempt to shield themselves from the epidemic and survive. A young girl with immunity must be transported to a laboratory to develop a cure against the fungus.

What the scientist said

67-year-old Professor Casadevall, who has authored over 1000 scientific papers and currently works in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, has stated that fungi pose a "real threat" to humanity.

In his new book What If Fungi Win? the professor highlights the very real likelihood of a pandemic caused by fungi.

He notes that the scenario depicted in the series is currently implausible: "Right now, we don’t know of any fungus that can turn a human into a zombie."

However, he does not rule out the possibility of such fungi emerging in the future, with one contributing factor being the rapid climate change on the planet.

"But there’s no question in my mind that we’re likely to see dangerous new fungal pathogens in time. In fact, we are already seeing it happen. Everything in our environment is being affected as temperatures rise. There’s increasing evidence that certain fungi have the potential to unleash new diseases that will harm many more humans in unprecedented ways," says the microbiologist.

He pointed out that if fungi adapt to higher temperatures, it will compromise our defenses and lead to more fungus-related diseases.

Professor Casadevall revealed evidence of fungal mutations. In 2007, the fungus Candida auris was discovered in human earwax in Japan, later spreading to South America, Africa, and India. Before 2007, this fungus species was unknown to medicine.

"So we have a medical mystery. We have an organism that medicine didn’t know anything about. One of the things we have proposed is that this may have been the first fungus to breach our thermal barriers," the scientist added.

He noted that most fungi cannot survive temperatures above 37 degrees Celsius, and humanity has never before faced a fungal pandemic. However, other species have suffered, and humans could be the next victims.

"Humanity does not have experience with a fungal pandemic, but other species do. Amphibians are being decimated by a fungus that has spread to all the continents. So if a fungus can do that to amphibians that have been around for millions of years and which have good immune systems like we do, it is hubris to think something can’t happen to us. We have a huge blind spot when it comes to the diseases and toxins fungi can wield," Casadevall concluded.

And it has also been reported that by 2050, viral epidemics could potentially devastate twelve times more people.