The Latest: 37.3 | Virus

Colin Tudge dissects the biology and metaphysics of viruses, Vinay Lal takes a hammer to viral corona capitalism, Chandrika Parmar mourns the lockdown-induced plight of India’s migrant workers, James Brooks faces his existential terrors, Ebrahim Moosa urges Muslims to develop some cognitive immunity, Josef Linnhoff on white Muslims, and poems by Carol Rumens.

Humans and microbes are interdependent. Humans are often the hosts, but so too are animals, plants and nature generally. In the main, these relationships are beneficial and harmless.

If, in our capitalist economy, homo sapiens is fundamentally homo economicus, what might be the implications of living in a time, and for a protracted period of time, when as human beings we ceased to be primarily economic agents?

For a year or so in my teens I was convinced that I – and almost everybody I knew – would die in a terrifying brain-disease epidemic.

The case for the prosecution seems open and shut. Viruses are life’s disrupters – nature’s spivs, gangsters, the ultimate parasites; dogging the lives of all other organisms through their single-minded yet mindless compulsion to replicate.

Medina Tenour Whiteman’s The Invisible Muslim: Journeys Through  Whiteness and Islam, explores what is means to be a white Muslim.