Scientists Decoded the Stone age Hepatitis B Virus


It is always been an area of interest for the researchers, scientists, biologists and historians to sort out the origin of different things. Different researches have been made to figure out the history, origin and age of different things like ancient trees, ancient tools and different items, skeletons etc. Like other researchers, biologists are keenly interested to figure out the real origin of a particular disease and its originating period in the history.

Most researches have ended up in success and the knowledge of the origin of something can really help us to counter it better. A lot of diseases date back to ancient times. However, there are some diseases which are just been indentified and are regarded as a result of recently increased pollution and other factors. For example, the deep researches made on the origin of Malaria have assisted us to overcome the disease in better ways.

What actually is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is a life threatening disease which is caused by a virus known as HBV. It’s a liver abnormality which causes chronic infection to the organ. Hepatitis has caused a lot of causalities in the past and even today. Although, proper counter arrangements have been made by the researchers against Hepatitis B, however, still a chronic hepatitis B can create life threatening situations. Blood, Semen or any other infected body fluid can be a transporter of HBV into another person who is not infected. However it may not spread due to kissing, sneezing, coughing etc.

Recent research about Hepatitis B virus:

                                                                        Apart from taking the counter steps against Hepatitis B, scientists have tried hard to get the knowledge about its originating place, originating time and other basic information. Having a deep knowledge about these aspects may be helpful in figuring out the better solutions and arrangements. Till recently, scientists didn’t know about these aspects of Hepatitis B and were silent about the origin of the disease. However, the researches continued and at last the experts have made it to the deep information of the disease.

A team comprising of the experts from Max Plank Institute for the Science of Human History & University of Kiel has been successful in achieving the goals. Its report was published in eLife on 10th of May, 2018. The most widespread pathogen, HBV, affects over 250 million people all over the world. Until now, scientists were not successful to recover the DNA of the respective virus from any prehistoric remain. During the study, 53 skeletons were put under critical analysis.

The skeletons dated back to prehistoric times of Neolithic and medieval ages which stayed from 5000 A.D to 12,000 A.D. The prolonged study proves that the hepatitis B viruses, HBVs, were also present almost 7,000 years ago and that Hepatitis B is not a recently formed disease.

The first author Ben Krause-Kyora states, “Taken together, our results demonstrate that HBV already existed in Europeans 7000 years ago and that its genomic structure closely resembled that of modern hepatitis B viruses, despite the differences observed”. So, the team has successfully proved that the similar virus was present almost seven thousand years ago and of course, people suffered from hepatitis B in that era too.