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Invisible threat: New viruses already on the way

March 31 2006

While scientists are spending energy and resources into searching for life on other planets, their colleagues make surprising discoveries on Earth.

A group of Russian and French scientists found traces of previously unknown thermophilic microorganism that may or may dwell under the frozen Lake Vostok in Antarctica.

Three-kilometer lake is covered with a crust of ice and was isolated from the earth's atmosphere for millions of years . In the drilling process, samples of ice containing a strip of dark sludge, presumably lifted from the bottom of the lake once a small earthquake. In this draft a team of scientists has found genetic traces of the bacteria that normally lives at temperatures of 50-60 degrees Celsius.

Scientists believe that Lake Vostok may have some hydrothermal systems at the bottom on the bottom, heated water. In their view, life in Lake Vostok (if there are any) may be similar to life, which is likely to exist beneath the ice of some satellites of giant planets.

Meanwhile, epidemiologists and physicians from different countries are seriously worried deadly viruses and bacteria, which no one has yet explored. In Bengal, unknown and not identified until that time, the agent for a short time, struck about 3000 people and caused a sick high, life-threatening temperatures. The virus spread rapidly , and Indian authorities have asked for help from the international research community.

The virus, which since March 1, has infected 800 residents of poor neighborhoods Kishantoly, Rukotoly Banglatoli and very soon reached the city Rurkely, not stopping even before the closed doors - among the living were even residents of the state prison. Analysis of 857 samples of blood shed little light on the mysterious infection.

Each year an increasing number of infectious "explosions" in which pop up unfamiliar pathogens. It is known that viruses killer strike first animals and then, after appropriate mutations pass per person.

By the way, in human blood was first identified virus of ocean origin. It can cause several diseases in different animal species. Virus or antibodies to it were found in people with liver damage or hepatitis.

In their experiment, researchers at Oregon State University examined samples of more than 700 donors. Studied the virus belongs to the genus Vesivirus, family Caliciviridae, the members of which cause disease in humans (eg, Norovirus causes gastroenteritis) and animals (eg, largovirusy causing haemorrhagic fever). Further studies of the virus, since it is possible it is associated not only with liver disease, and encephalitis, as well as several other diseases.

On materials Membrana , InoPressa, Newsinfo

Константин Дятлов

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