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The paradox of HBV evolution as revealed from a 16th century mummy

In their recent publication, Dr. Hendrik Poinar of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research and colleagues at McMaster University performed DNA analysis techniques on the mummified remains of a medieval child buried in the Basilica of Saint Domenico Maggiore in Naples, Italy. Believed from previous scientific analyses (without DNA testing) to have had smallpox, Poinar’s research concludes that the child actually suffered from hepatitis B instead – evidence suggesting that HBV has existed amongst populations for centuries.

Read the press release from McMaster University.

Read the full publication in the journal PLOS Pathogens.

 

Credit information:  Mummy photo: Gino Fornaciari, University of Pisa

Hendrik Poinar photo: JD Howell, McMaster University