Lithuanian Mummy Reveals Mystery Of Virus Killer

The Canadian scientist who researched a mummy from Vilnius, Lithuania revealed the mystery of virus killer that killed 300 million people. The scientist found a variant of the oldest smallpox in the world inside the mummy body. The findings were claimed to be able to fix the entire historical order of the development of smallpox virus which had once become the most deadly epidemic on Earth.

Lithuanian Mummy Reveals the Mystery of Virus Killer
Lithuanian Mummy

According to previous research, historical records from China and India, and observations of a number of mummies in Egypt, the academic community produced a hypothesis that the smallpox virus had existed on Earth for tens of thousands of years ago. The hypothesis was regarded as a single truth for so long. However, after the recent findings of the mummy analysis results from Lithuanian Vilnius, the hypothesis was believed to be undergoing major changes.

A researcher team from McMaster University in Canada began the visionary study by comparing DNA from the remnants of variola, the virus that causes smallpox. It was discovered in the Lithuanian Vilnius mummies with the modern smallpox virus from the 1940s to the 1970s. Based on the results of the comparison, the research team concluded that the new smallpox virus appeared and developed several hundred years ago about 1588 to 1645.

The Canadian researchers analyzed a Lithuanian mummy body that was estimated to be 2 to 4 years old when killed. The boy's body was one of about 200 mummies found beneath the former ruins of the Dominican Church of the Holy Spirit in Vilnius, Lithuania. The body was discovered around the 1960s by Juozas Albinas Markulis and his students. However, due to mismanagement and preservation, in 2004 only 23 remains were still mummified from the total of 200 mummies.

Since 2012, the academic community had been intensely researching Lithuanian mummies for the purpose of knowing their lifestyle and type of diseases in the 17th century up to the 19th century. In 2016, the research team had discovered the remains of variola in one Lithuanian Vilnius mummy. They died from smallpox. The findings were considered to overhaul the traditional hypothesis about the history of the development of smallpox virus. The traditional hypothesis stated that smallpox had existed for tens of thousands of years ago. However, McMaster University's findings offered a new argument that the new smallpox virus began to develop about 500 years ago.

After killing about 300 million people in the 20th century, smallpox was declared no longer as a pandemic on Earth since 1980. Especially, the United Nations intensively started to campaign for smallpox vaccine in a number of countries in the world.

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