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  Life   More Features  10 May 2018  Scientists discover oldest human virus in ancient skeleton

Scientists discover oldest human virus in ancient skeleton

Published : May 10, 2018, 1:48 pm IST
Updated : May 10, 2018, 1:48 pm IST

Find out how the find could be beneficial for the future.

Representational Image. (Photo: Pixabay)
 Representational Image. (Photo: Pixabay)

DNA sampling on a Bronze Age skeleton helped uncover the oldest human virus.

 The 4,500-year-old skeleton was from Osterhofen, Germany, the Daily Mail reported. The skeleton was part of the 'Bell Beaker' culture known for their pottery cups shaped in the form of a bell.

The strain of hepatitis B has ‘transformed’ researchers' understanding of the virus, the report revealed.  It is a deadly liver disease.

While the various mutations of the virus do no exist anymore, the finding will help scientists develop ways to fight lethal new strains.

"People have tried to unravel the history of HBV for decades," lead author Barbara Muhlemann, a Cambridge University PhD student, is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail. Adding, "This study transforms our understanding of the virus."

The study was originally published in the journal Nature.

Tags: human, history, virus, bronze age, bell beaker, hepatitis b