Viral DNA, theoretically, could have come to Earth from space, but this hypothesis needs to be checked, said Vyacheslav Ilyin, head of the department of the Institute of Biomedical Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The scientist told Interfax that he did not rule out the possibility of coronavirus penetrating the Earth through the dense layers of the atmosphere.
- As an expert in exobiology, planetary quarantine, I’m closer to the assumption that it can be a virus, or, most likely, a part of it, in the form of a provirus that could pass through dense layers, integrate with raindrops and aerosol particles and with them to get to the Earth, - Ilyin suggested.
The professor recalled that the director of the Cardiff Center for Astrobiology in the UK Chandra Wickramasinghe previously published several works in which he described the obvious association of the occurrence of coronavirus with the origin of comet fireballs in the China region.
“The ability to synthesize something like this is indirectly shown in earlier research,” the scientist explained.
According to him, the possibility of getting to the Earth from space fragments of viruses must be practically proved.
“I hope to implement plans for experiments, including those with the participation of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, aboard the Bion-M biological autonomous satellite No. 2, which will fly 30 days in an orbit with an altitude of 1000 kilometers,” Ilyin admitted.
He added that he had great hope in the planned experiments aboard the ISS, including the study of dust particles "on the carriage of biological and biogenic particles." When the acute phase of the coronavirus pandemic ends in the world, the scientist noted, it will be necessary to concentrate on studying the ionosphere, mesosphere and stratosphere as participants in the near-Earth space, where dust particles are accumulated that can carry both biological objects and biogenic substances.
If the hypothesis turns out to be true, it will be possible to anticipate negative epidemiological scenarios, the professor specified.
“If there is something reminiscent of potentially pathogenic forms, you can study them thoroughly in advance,” he emphasized.
As an argument in favor of the possibility of viral structures getting to the Earth from outside, he called the identification of particles in the stratosphere that are not yet known to scientists. They were also claimed by the staff of the Cardiff Center for Astrobiology.
- A lot of viral particles settle on controlled surfaces even during the day. They are typed by our gene library, but not always. This speaks in favor of the fact that among these biological particles there are some unknowns, which now need to be treated more carefully, ”Ilyin concluded.
Meanwhile, understanding the origin of the coronavirus, China and the United States managed to exchange mutual accusations that COVID-19 was created and introduced as a biological weapon.
While scientists, studying a new virus, found that the pathogenesis of coronavirus disease may vary depending on the strain of the pathogen. The mutation made coronavirus even stronger, scientists said.