You’ve never seen this before. For the first time, scientists were able to take pictures of the vampire virus.
In March 2020, biologist Tajide de Carvalho discovered something in a microscope that she had never seen before: a small virus that stuck to the neck of a larger virus.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes,” says Tajide de Carvalho, who thinks this is a perfect example of how crazy and exciting biology can be.
DiCarvalho and her colleagues’ findings are now in Published in the Journal of the International Society of Microbial Ecology.
The image of the little vampire virus is spreading around the world. The news was discussed in a number of international media outlets, including: Washington Post And The Independent. Norwegian edition Illustrated Science He also wrote about this amazing discovery.
The existence of the virus with a slightly scary moniker has been known among scientists for several decades. But no one had seen him before. This was not discovered until a larger number of vampire viruses were discovered in soil samples from the states of Maryland and Missouri in the United States. According to De Carvalho and her fellow researchers, there can be millions of viruses in one gram of soil.
– I’ve seen hundreds of viruses with this little guy stuck to their necks. Clearly, it wasn’t a coincidence, De Carvalho tells The Washington Post.
She’s head of the Keith R. Porter Imaging Facility at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, and she used a very special microscope to see the vampire virus.
-We know that viruses can do incredible things. But what we saw now, none of us thought we would see, says Tagidi de Carvalho.
As you know, viruses depend on bacteria, animals and humans to survive and reproduce. However, there are also some types of viruses that depend on other viruses to reproduce.
The vampire virus clinging to the neck of a much larger virus in the picture is a good example of this.
These types of viruses are called satellite viruses. Not only do they depend on the host organism to complete their life cycle, he explains, they also require another virus, called a helper virus. Illustrated Science.
Researchers have long known that viruses were “in close proximity to each other,” as they put it. But now, for the first time, they have imaged a virus linked to another, larger virus. These images attract attention across large parts of the world. Because no one has discovered them yet. It is much less obvious to take pictures of the two viruses.
Viruses can harm almost anything. They are among the most creative forces found in nature. If there is an opportunity, “they” come up with a solution. But no one thought they would come up with something like this, says Evan Erler, de Carvalho’s colleague and computer specialist, in an interview with the Washington Post.
He goes on in this rather simple and popular way:
– I think this virus said something like, “Okay, now I’m going to stick to my assistant’s neck here, and then I’m going to stay there until I find a new cell.”
The Washington Post and Illustert Vitenskap write that the discovery was made by accident when a group of students saw “something” that they thought was not true.
That happened when they isolated so-called bacteriophages to map – sequence – and analyze their DNA, writes Illustrit Vitenskap Bacteriophages, “bacteria-eaters,” are viruses that infect and reproduce in bacteria, he explains.
A group of researchers at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and Washington University in St. Louis believe this type of vampire virus could cause host viruses to go dormant, The Independent reported.
The same research group also points out that vampire viruses can kill viruses that infect crops, but they can also kill viruses that are important for fertile soil.
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