How Sex and Beer Beget A Science Paper

Patients 1 and 2. Kobylinski (left), Foy (right), collecting mosquitoes in Senegal with medical entomologist Massamba Sylla. Photo: Brian Foy

The old and busted way of scientific research: Long hours hunching over the lab bench. The new hotness: sex with wife, and then a round of beer with fellow scientist. (Bonus: wife is also a co-author on the paper)

Here's the intriguing story of how a recent science paper came to be:

A U.S. vector biologist appears to have accidentally written virological history simply by having sex with his wife after returning from a field trip to Senegal. A study just released in Emerging Infectious Diseases suggests that the researcher, Brian Foy of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, passed to his wife the Zika virus, an obscure pathogen that causes joint pains and extreme fatigue. If so, it would be the first documented case of sexual transmission of an insect-borne disease.

Foy is the first author of the paper, which describes three anonymous patients. But in an interview with Science, he confirmed that he is the anonymous "patient 1"; his Ph.D. student Kevin Kobylinski, who accompanied him on the trip to Senegal and also got sick, is "patient 2." Foy's wife, Joy Chilson Foy, a nurse at the Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, is "patient 3"; she is also a co-author of the paper.


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