What are ‘vampire viruses’ discovered for the first time in the US? – Times of India

NEW DELHI: For the first time, several ‘vampire viruses’ have been detected in the soil samples in Maryland and Missouri. The existence of such viruses has been known for decades but they have been discovered for the first time in the US. These viruses, known for preying on others to replicate, emerge when a bacteriophage attaches to a soil-based virus, utilising its “life” for independent survival.
Researchers from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and Washington University in St.Louis have identified a “vampire virus” capable of inducing dormancy in the host virus. While this virus can eliminate harmful viruses affecting crops, it also poses a threat to ‘good viruses’ crucial for soil health.
The study was published in the Journal of the International Society of Microbial Ecology. UMBC biologist Tagide deCarvalho, lead author of the study, stated, “When I saw it, I was like, I can’t believe this. No one has ever seen a bacteriophage – or any other virus– attach to another virus.”

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