Scientists in Brazil have discovered a virus which appears to be almost entirely new, consisting of unrecognizable genes that have been, until now, undocumented.
The Yara-virus (Yaravirus brasiliensis), named after a water deity in Brazilian mythology and folklore, was discovered in Lake Pampulha in the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte.
In recent years, virologists and other researchers have discovered a variety of new viruses which challenge traditional thinking, including so-called “giant viruses” (named for their large protein shells, not their deadliness to humans).
These giant viruses possess a far more complex genome than scientists could have predicted, based on humanity’s knowledge of normal viruses, and are capable of repairing and replicating their own DNA.
Contrary to what is observed in other isolated viruses of amoeba, Yara-virus is not represented by a large/giant particle and a complex genome, adding that it may be the first in “a new lineage of amoebal virus with a puzzling origin and phylogeny.”
In fact, 90% of the genes in the Yara-virus have never been described before in public scientific databases and literature.
Rather worryingly, the researchers conclude that the amount of unknown proteins within the Yara-virus throws open the door to a whole other world of as-yet-undiscovered viruses we know little to nothing about.
RT . com / ABC Flash Point News 2020.