A recent study by scientists made an accidental discovery of a virus, but researchers have many more questions than answers on this somewhat alarming find.
A group of scientists from Johns Hopkins and the University of Nebraska had been conducting a study on 33 healthy people for a variety of things, including mental testing. In 40 percent of the subjects, they found a new virus present in their mouths and throats.
Further tests revealed the virus' presence affected their mental capacity. The test subjects experienced shorter attention spans and processed visual information 10 percent slower than those without the infectious agent.
The virus, which is scientifically called ATCV-1, predominantly affects plants, and evidently is believed to be waterborne as it's most commonly found within algae. This leads scientists to believe it made contact with humans through water.
However, this baffles scientists because accepted knowledge holds that viruses in the plant kingdom don't make their way into humans. Although the human body is known to harbor various kinds of viruses both internally and externally, this particular virus is cause for concern given its surprising presence and alleged correlation with mental slowness.
“We're really just starting to find out what some of these agents that we're carrying around might actually do," said Dr. Robert Yolken, a professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and one of the co-authors of the study.
What’s scarier is that there’s still so much we don’t know, but what we do know, thanks to this study, isn’t exactly good news.