Cordyceps Fungus Isn’t The Last of Us

Cordyceps Fungus
Guided By Mushrooms grown Cordyceps Militaris Mushroom

The HBO Show “The Last of Us” is an apocalyptic thriller series based upon the premise that an actual zombie fungus, the Cordyceps mushroom, is taking over Earth and turning humans into zombies.

Cordyceps is a type of fungus that infects insects and other arthropods, taking over their body and altering their behavior to propogate the fungus. While there are many species of cordyceps fungus, they do not infect humans, and there are several reasons why:

  1. Cordyceps fungus is host specific: Cordyceps species are extremely specific to their host organism. They have evolved to infect and manipulate the behavior of insects and arthropods, but lack the necessary adaptations to infect mammals like humans.
  2. Human Immune system response: Humans have complex immune systems that can identify and respond to possible infections. Even if a cordyceps fungus were to come into contact with a human, the immune system would mount a defense to prevent infection.
  3. Differences in physiology: Insects and arthropods have a very different physiology from humans. Their smaller size and simpler body plans of insects make them more vulnerable to fungal infections, while humans have a more complex and robust physiology that makes them less susceptible.
  4. Most fungi, including cordyceps, like colder temperatures around 50-65 F, and are unable to grow at the human body’s internal temperature of 98.6 F. 

It’s worth noting that while cordyceps fungi do not infect humans, there are many other types of fungi that can cause serious infections in humans, particularly those with weakened immune systems.

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