WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- The discovery of a new virus with a never before seen genetic make-up from Brazil comes after the novel coronavirus (now COVID-19) from China.
- The genetic components of the Yaravirus are 90 percent different and have never been identified in other viruses.
- Scientists report that the Yaravirus infects amoebas, with no indication that it could sicken humans.
A new virus with a never seen before genetic make-up has been uncovered in Brazil, scientists say.
The newly published research paper on BioRxiv details the origin of isolation: from Lake Pampulha, an artificial lagoon in the city of Belo Horizonte. The virus was then named Yaravirus after the mythological Brazilian water goddess, Yara.
Scientists from both France’s Aix Marseille University and Brazil’s Federal University of Minas Gerais report information that indicates that 90 percent of the Yarvirus’ genes had never been identified in other viruses known to man.
“Most of the known viruses of amoeba have been seen to share many features that eventually prompted authors to classify them into common evolutionary groups,” the researchers said, adding that the new virus discovered “carries an important number of previously undescribed genes” to further explain
The origin and information on the evolution process of the virus remain to be undetermined, the researchers said.
“It would be necessary to isolate new viruses similar to Yaravirus to improve our analysis and try to define their origin,” associate professor Jônatas Abrahão at Federal University, told Live Science.
This new virus is 80 nanometers in diameter or about 0.1% the thickness of a human hair strand. The publication reports that the virus has the ability to infect other amoebas. To date, there is no indication that the virus is a risk to humans, researchers said.
“If we consider all known viruses by now, we can say that most of them do not represent any threat for our health,” Abrahão said, adding that viruses are “important in the environment.”
The news of the discovery comes after the novel coronavirus (now COVID-19) from China, which was also recently uncovered, leading to a public health emergency as it spread to thousands of people within two months.
Source: New York Post