A team of researchers recently discovered that genital warts have been affecting humankind for more than 100,000 years, ever since the Homo Sapiens tried to reproduce with the Denisovans or the Neanderthals. Scientists still haven’t found a cure for the condition.
The human papillomavirus, also known as HPV, or more commonly, genital warts, has been a cause of concern even before our species gained the additional sapiens to its name. Researchers believe that the virus has been causing problems for 100,000 years now, since a Home Sapiens copulated with a Neanderthal or Denisovan specimen, both being believed to have been carriers of the disease.
Scientists speculate that the physical relations took place sometimes after the Homo sapiens left the African continent and started traveling to Eurasia. The theory explains why almost all of the world is affected by the condition with the exception the sub-Saharan part of the African continent.
The team that made the discovery focused on a particular strain of the HPV, HPV16, a carcinogenic strain that is believed to infect over 4 percent of the US population, the stain also being responsible for an increased risk of developing cervical cancer.
The team ran 118 sequences of HPV16 through five virus subtypes in order to understand its evolution pattern. By using a computer algorithm meant to analyze the structures of the virus, the researchers managed to create a genetic timeline of the microorganism, highlighting the changes that it went through over the years.
The timeline showed that the HPV16 strain is approximately 500,000 years old, its birth coinciding with the apparition of the Denisovans and the Neanderthals, both being responsible for spreading the virus to the Homo Sapiens 400,000 years later.
The researchers also found that early humans also carried a primitive form of the human papillomavirus, but the HPV16 strain was “caught” after they engaged in physical activities with the Denisovans and the Neanderthals.
According to one of the scientists involved in the study, the history of humankind is interconnected with the history of viruses, the early human population being affected by most viruses with which we still struggle today, the only difference being that we now have vaccines to prevent virus-related deaths.
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