The scientific community has uncovered more than 100,000 new types of viruses. These findings could help in the development of anti-microbial drugs and the prevention of infections. They could also be used to combat disease-causing parasites and fungi. Viruses infect cells by injecting RNA into the cytoplasm, where the RNA is then recycled into proteins to infect the cell.
This is a significant discovery as it means that scientists have a better understanding of how viruses adapt to different hosts. In addition, they can use partial sequences to build family trees and to identify new virus species. This will provide researchers with insights into the evolution of human pathogens. It will also allow them to develop diagnostic tests and potentially prevent future outbreaks.
There are thousands of unknown viruses, many of which are lethal, and they could be a source of the next pandemic. Researchers at Tel Aviv University and at the Joint Genome Institute, both affiliated with the Department of Energy, are working to uncover them. Their study focuses on the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, which is the enzyme that is responsible for replicating all RNA viruses.
Scientists have found that the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase is not the only protein involved in replication. Another key element is the spike protein, which helps the virus get into the host’s cells. Babaian and his colleagues looked for matches to the central core of the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. Using a new computational technique, the researchers extracted genetic information from thousands of sampling points across the world.
The data they gathered was from public databases of gene sequences. As a result, the scientists analyzed a staggering 5.7 million samples collected from around the world during the last 15 years. From this, they were able to identify tens of thousands of new RNA viruses.
One of the biggest discoveries was that the study showed a large expansion of the diversity of RNA viruses associated with bacteria. This discovery opens the door to further research and the development of new viruses for medicine and agriculture.
Scientists have found that RNA viruses are present in soil, lakes, and oceans. Some of these new RNA-viruses are affecting humans. Others are threatening endangered species, and some are helping protect livestock and crops. By using a global database of these RNA viruses, scientists hope to be able to identify viruses that spread to humans and to other animals.
The researchers believe that their discovery can help in the development of anti-microbial drug therapies and in the prevention of invasive fungi and other parasites. But there is still a lot more work to be done.
The IBMCP project, a collaboration between the UPV and CSIC, is studying the genomes of more than 130,000 new RNA viruses. For instance, the study identified nine new species of coronaviruses. Other RNA viruses that were discovered include the puumala virus, which causes a mild human disease, and the Thottapalayam virus, which was isolated from musk shrews.