IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


14th November, 2023 Health


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Picture Courtesy: www.inkl.com

Context: Scientists from the University of Maryland discovered vampire viruses on U.S. soil for the first time. These viruses, named MiniFlayer and MindFlayer, exhibit unique behaviour by attaching to the necks of other viruses to replicate and spread.

Key Highlights

  • The Virus attaches to the neck of other viruses, a behaviour previously unseen in bacteriophages or any other viruses. The attachment mechanism is likened to a "vampire" as it goes for the neck.
  • It can cause the host virus to become dormant or impair its normal function. While this may be beneficial in controlling viruses harmful to crops and livestock, it poses a threat to "good" viruses that are essential for maintaining healthy soil.
  • They are being studied for their potential impact on agriculture. They have the capability to combat viruses that harm crops and livestock, but they may also affect beneficial viruses crucial for soil health.
  • Vampire viruses, including other similar viruses, have been linked to deadly outbreaks of diseases such as hemorrhagic fever, which can have a high fatality rate. The scientists are likely investigating the potential health risks associated with these viruses.
  • Researchers are studying vampire viruses to gain a deeper understanding of their behaviour, potential uses, and associated risks.


  • The study of vampire viruses presents a unique and complex area of research with potential benefits for agriculture but also raises important concerns regarding unintended consequences and health risks. Ongoing scientific exploration is crucial for a comprehensive understanding of these viruses and their potential applications.


Q. What are the key factors contributing to the increased prevalence and spread of viral diseases in contemporary society, and what measures can be implemented to mitigate and control their impact on public health?