Billions of Viruses Spread to Earth Every Day
For the first time, scientists analyzed the huge amount of viruses swept and stirred in the atmosphere that sometimes travel thousands of miles from the origin of the virus before being re-visible on Earth’s surface.
To find this out, the researchers looked at the boundary layer of the atmosphere, the free troposphere beneath the stratosphere but still quite high from the reach of the weather system.
At this altitude, about 2,500 to 3,000 meters above sea level, viruses are moving up the air currents and soil particles or steam from the sea burst, moving very far away.
Scientists who discovered the flood of microbes in the air, concluded that every one meter per surface of the Earth could be watered by hundreds of millions of viruses and tens of millions of microbes, in just one day.
“Every day, about 800 million viruses occupy every square meter above the atmospheric border layer or 25 viruses for every single person in Canada,” said one of the researchers, Curtis Suttle, a virologist and professor at the University of British Columbia’s Marine and Fisheries Institute .
But the flood of this virus has nothing to do with the cause of the flu. Viruses-clusters of genetic material in self-reproducing packaging proteins-have been present on Earth since 300 million years ago and are abundant on Earth (including in the human body as part of microbiomes).
In fact, the virus is the most abundant microbe on Earth, the research node said. The number of viruses is so horrible that if all the viruses on Earth are collected it will occupy an area that spans up to 100 million light years, Nature Class Microbiology journals wrote in 2011.
A number of viruses like influenza and Ebola do make people sick, but most viruses are just ordinary bacteria.
According to a study in 2013 published in the journal American Society for Microbiology, although no one knows the exact number of viruses, it is estimated that 320,000 viruses have infected mammals.