Contagion: Rooted In Science


“Contagion”, released September 9 from director Steven Soderbergh (“Ocean’s 11″) gives viewers an eerily realistic look at what happens when a deadly virus is transmitted from animal to human, and explodes into a worldwide pandemic.

The film differs from other movies featuring viruses taking over the world, like zombie films, because the plot is rooted in science. “Contagion” boasts three scientific consultants, which explains why scientific language is woven into the dialogue and storyline. Kate Winslet’s character in the film is an epidemiological intelligence officer who is one of the film’s chief sources of infectious disease knowledge. Winslet’s character explains R0 (the number of new cases that a single infected person will cause), fomites (inanimate objects or substances capable of carrying and spreading infectious organisms), and the fact that people touch their faces several thousand times a day.

The source of the virus, which is revealed in the last scenes of the film, is transmitted from a bat, to a pig, which transmits the virus to a human. “More than three-quarters of all emerging infectious diseases originate when microbes jump from wildlife to humans,” explains W. Ian Lipkin, an epidemiologist anda chief science advisor for the film.

The film is not only being praised for its star studded cast’s performance and captivating storyline, but also for its highly realistic portrayal of pandemics and scientific content.

The Science and Entertainment Exchange



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