A monster virus comes back from ancient times to wreak havoc on mankind. That may sound like a blurb from a science fiction novel, but as scientists have known for some time, it's not at all impossible. And thanks to the recent revival of a 30,000-year-old giant virus in Siberia, there's increasing concern that it might describe our future.
But before you go diving into your hermetically sealed fallout shelters, it's important to note that, at least thus far, this and every other virus we've found sleeping deep beneath the surface hasn't been of any threat to mankind. So why's everybody talking about this discovery like it's the opening of the seventh seal? In proving that dormant viruses this ancient can, in fact, be revived, we've just opened up a Pandora's box of pandemic proportions.
Deborah Persaud, of Johns Hopkins University Medical School, is the lead author of a report recounting the child's treatment. The identity of the little girl, who was born to an HIV-positive woman in rural Mississippi, has yet to be released. What we do know is that she is only the second person in the world — and the first child — to be cured of HIV in its devastating 32-year history. If the case is confirmed, it is truly unprecedented.
A malaria vaccine has become the first to provide 100% protection against the disease, confounding critics and far surpassing any other experimental malaria vaccine tested. It will now be tested further in clinical trials in Africa.