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The Last of Us (HBO Max)

We shouldn't be worried about a The Last of Us-style Cordyceps infection, says mycologist

The fungi is more beneficial to humanity than anything.

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No doubt many of you have been watching HBO's The Last of Us and maybe even replaying Naughty Dog's fabulous video game, and starting to ponder whether fungi is a real threat to humanity. Well, according to mycologist Paul Stamets, the Cordyceps fungus in the show is far from a threat to humanity.

Speaking about fungus and The Last of Us on Twitter, Stamets stated:

"I have just finished watching the second episode of #TheLastOfUs and I have two opinions.

"First, I'm a science-fiction fan and I love weaving the creative elements of fungi into the narrative.

"But let's get real. Cordyceps can not infect humans."

Stamets continued by adding: "This is fiction weaved into a theme speckled with mycology and exploiting Mycophobia: the fear of fungi. It is natural for humans to fear that which is powerful but mysterious and misunderstood."

As for what Cordyceps can actually do for humanity, he noted: "In reality, Fungi offer us today some of the best solutions that are needed for solving many of the existential threats that we face. In fact, Cordyceps-like fungi could replace the majority of chemical pesticides with an ecologically rational and economically scalable solution."

But we live in a world loving fiction and stories, so if Cordyceps fungus did become our enemy, would we have a chance? Stamets concluded with a pretty eye-opening statement:

"Breaking news: they are everywhere, all the time, and you live with them 24/7. These very fungi exist under every footstep that you take.

"Fungi will never be defeated.

"Our survival depends on a peace treaty with Fungi.

"Mycologists can help by being the our friends, the fantastic Fungi !"

So needless to say, fungi are friends.

The Last of Us (HBO Max)

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