A Virus Dwelling in the Gut in Millions of Humans?
A virus is kind of a bacteriophage which is otherwise called a "phage". This kind of virus can also infect bacteria. The bacteria that crAssphage virus infects comes from the genus Bacteroides, which thrives in the gut of humans.
The virus was previously not known to exist and is also not visible under scans, but is the most common type of virus that dwells in the gut of human beings. The most interesting feature of the virus is that it prefers to co-exist with the Bacteroides inside the intestine of humans.
"We suspect this virus is very important in regulating the number of these bacteria in the intestine", says Rob Edwards who is the researcher and bioinformatics professor at the San Diego State University.
It was Edwards and his team of researchers who came across this virus. The name of crAssphage was given after a computational device which was used during the analysis of the virus in the initial phase. The discovery happened at the time when the National Institute of Health had a project that required scientists to study different kinds of bacteria that dwell in humans. While on the project, the scientists "accidentally" bumped into the virus when they were analyzing some of the genetic samples.
To assess the presence of the virus in humans, the team of researchers analyzed human stool samples from Europe as well as from other countries including South Korea, US and Japan. Edwards said that the virus is quite prevalent and is in every continent that the team has looked at.
Whether it affects the health conditions of humans or not, the discovery of the virus has brought quite a lot of concern. It is a fact that the virus does not make a person sick. But its coexistence with the Bacteroides may provide it with the ability to control the weight of the person.
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