Hepatitis B Existed in Humans for Centuries: 16th Century Mummy Confirms

by Hannah Joy on January 6, 2018 at 4:07 PM
Hepatitis B Existed in Humans for Centuries: 16th Century Mummy Confirms

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) was found to be existing in humans for centuries. The DNA analysis from the remains of a 16th-century mummy of a small boy has confirmed it, reveals a new study.

HBV is a deadly viral infection that attacks the liver, can cause both acute and chronic disease and kills nearly one million people every year.


The findings are based on DNA extracted from the mummified remains of a small child buried in the Basilica of Saint Domenico Maggiore in Naples, Italy.

Previous analysis of the 450-year old mummified remains, which did not include DNA testing suggested that the child was infected with Variola virus, or smallpox.

Using advanced sequencing techniques, researchers now suggest that the child was actually infected by HBV, throwing light on the evolution of the disease.

"These data emphasise the importance of molecular approaches to help identify the presence of key pathogens in the past, enabling us to better constrain the time they may have infected humans," said lead investigator Hendrik Poinar, an evolutionary geneticist at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada.

While viruses often evolve very rapidly, this ancient strain of HBV has changed little over the last 450 years and that the evolution of this virus is complex, the researchers noted, in the paper published in the journal PLOS Pathogens.

Over 350 million people living today have chronic HBV infections while approximately one-third of the global population has been infected at some point in their lives, emphasizing the importance of studying ancient viruses.

"The more we understand about the behaviour of past pandemics and outbreaks, the greater our understanding of how modern pathogens might work and spread, and this information will ultimately help in their control," Poinar stated.

Source: IANS
Font : A-A+



Recommended Readings

Latest Research News

AI Shows Promise in Identifying ADHD
The AI method shows promise in identifying imaging biomarkers for diagnosing ADHD.
Life Expectancy Gap for Autistic Individuals Revealed
Diagnosed autistic individuals showed increased premature mortality in the UK, highlighting urgent needs to address associated inequalities.
Exploring How Hearing Impairment Shapes Dementia Risk
Study reveals a correlation between hearing impairment and distinct brain region variances, contributing to dementia.
Coffee and its Role in Neurodegenerative Disorders
Financial impact of caring for individuals with neurodegenerative disorders reaches hundreds of billions annually in the United States.
Healthcare Industry Struggles With Tech Skills Shortage
Experts emphasize that addressing the skills gap demands immediate attention and innovative solutions, including education, re-training, and significant time investment.
View All
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close

Hepatitis B Existed in Humans for Centuries: 16th Century Mummy Confirms Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests