Brevia

A Giant Virus in Amoebae

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Science  28 Mar 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5615, pp. 2033
DOI: 10.1126/science.1081867

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  • RE: Something Giant
    • Elena Angela Lusi, Immunologist, St Vincent Health Care Group, UCD, Dublin, Ireland.

    Since this seminal paper, many environmental giant viruses have been discovered. The aquatic Samba virus has been isolated in rivers of the Amazon rainforest and the over 30,000 years old Pandora viruses was revived from the Siberian permafrost.

    When these giant prehistorical viruses resurrected from the earth, the question was if they could be capable of infecting human cells. The answer is Yes.
    Giant viruses can infect humans, but their presence in the human cells is beyond the classic definition of viruses. Human giant viruses should be considered as "something that was originally giant" and are not viruses any longer. In the human body, "the Giants" simply do not fit the classical definition of viruses any longer, they are something else.

    Elena Angela Lusi M.D. Ph.D

    Competing Interests: None declared.