Scientists discover 'stupid virus'

Scientists Discover 'Stupid Virus'
Scientists Discover 'Stupid Virus'

Scientists in the U.S. discovered a virus that actually makes people more stupid.

It's called ATCV-1 and was initially only known to appear in algae, but now researchers believe the virus may be transferred to humans through DNA.

James Van Etten, William Allington Distinguished Professor of Plant Pathology and a co-director of the Nebraska Center for Virology, says the green algae is 'very common among inland bodies of fresh water such as lakes and ponds.'

This is the first documented instance of the DNA of algae traveling to another biological kingdom.

Scientists conducted a study with 92 participants. Forty tested positive for the virus and they did worse on cognitive and intelligence tests. DNA from the algae could be found in throat swabs from healthy humans.

When tested on mice, the contagion broke through the barrier between blood and tissue, altering the activity of genes in their brains.

One of the genes affected the most were those that produce dopamine, which influences memory, spatial awareness, emotion and pleasure.

It's still unclear how ATCV-1 comes to infect humans, but at least now we can blame our slower moments on something scientific.

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