This is so freaking cool! You know, this is the kind of thing that just makes me giddy. It makes my otherwise crappy day all OK, but not only is the world weird, it’s weirder than you can imagine.
So, the story goes, a woman has an eye infection that isn’t responding to antibiotics. Researchers investigate and find an amoeba in her contact lens solution. However, that amoeba is infected by a giant virus. OK, that’s interesting, but not Earth shattering.
Now, here’s the wicked cool part. The giant virus is, in turn, infected with another virus. This virophage actually uses part of the machinery in the large virus to help it reproduce.
Also, the smaller virus actually inhibits the reproduction of the larger virus. I can see some potential antivirals coming out of this discovery if we can figure out how that all works.
Here’s a link to the paper. I haven’t read it and digested it yet, but I will as soon as I can. Apparently virophages aren’t brand new, they’ve been known for about 4 years now starting with the Sputnik virophage.
This is just really neat stuff. Science is so awesome.