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Med’s Mahmoud Ghannoum discusses Cordyceps fungus and The Last of Us

Could The Last of Us fungus happen in real life? Here’s what a biotech expert says about the possibility
ParadeMahmoud Ghannoum, professor in the School of Medicine, discussed the real-life Cordyceps fungus and how it differs from the fictional portrayal on the HBO show The Last of Us. “Ophiocordyceps unilateralis is a species that belongs to Cordyceps. This fungus has been referred to as ‘zombie fungus,’ which infects and kills ants in tropical forests,” he said. “When an ant comes into contact with O. unilateralis spores, the spores adhere to the ant’s body and penetrate its exoskeleton. The fungus then grows inside the ant’s body, consuming its tissues and eventually reaching the brain.”