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  • Every day billions of viruses and bacteria are deposited on to the Earth

    Every day billions of viruses and bacteria are deposited on to the Earth's surface | Photo: Reuters

Published 8 February 2018

The discovery explains why scientists began to find genetically similar viruses in very different parts of the globe.

Viruses circulate around the Earth's atmosphere and fall on the surface daily, a new study published Thursday in the International Society for Microbial Ecology Journal revealed.

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“Scattered by dust and aerosols, they settle in the low atmosphere in concentrations of 800 million per square meter, then travel thousands of kilometers and fall back to the ground,” the authors explained.

The scientists used detectors, which they installed in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Spain, discovering that every day billions of viruses and bacteria are deposited on to the Earth's surface. Viruses are deposited 9 to 461 times more than bacteria, the researchers found.

“In this regard,” explained specialist Curtis Suttle, “about 20 years ago we began to find genetically similar viruses in very different parts of the globe.”

This, the scientist continued, explains why “it is quite plausible that a virus suspended in the atmosphere on one continent can be deposited in another.”


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