Emergence of smallpox is recent, claims study

Till now, it was thought to have appeared in human population thousands of years ago in ancient India, China and Egypt but this study has furnished a fact that is otherwise.

Last Updated: Dec 09, 2016, 17:38 PM IST
Emergence of smallpox is recent, claims study
Smallpox, a deadly viral disease may have emerged recently. (Representational image)

New Delhi: A new study says that smallpox, a deadly viral disease may have emerged recently, as per reports.

Till now, it was thought to have appeared in human population thousands of years ago in ancient India, China and Egypt but this study has furnished a fact that is otherwise.

The pathogen that caused millions of deaths worldwide may not be an ancient disease but a much more modern killer that went on to become the first human disease eradicated by vaccination, researchers said.

The findings raise new questions about the role smallpox may have played in human history and fuels a longstanding debate over when the virus that causes smallpox, variola, first emerged and later evolved in response to inoculation and vaccination, they said.

"Scientists don't yet fully comprehend where smallpox came from and when it jumped into humans," said senior study author, Hendrik Poinar from McMaster University in Canada.

"This research raises some interesting possibilities about our perception and age of the disease," said Poinar.