Viral culprit

Published: Saturday 31 August 1996

depression in humankind could, in all possibility, be due to a virus, a similar strain of which has been found to cause the same illness in animals too. Known as the Borna virus, it was recovered from two patients in Germany and in one patient in the us . Researcher Liv Bode of the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin, stated that the recovered virus differed genetically from its animal strain. The virus could have a greater impact on those victims who are genetically vulnerable to major depressions.

The Borna virus has been known to affect sheep, cattle, ostriches as well as horses and cats. Animals show symptoms of apathy, energy loss and sleepiness. Instances of animal infections have been seen in Central Europe, Sweden and Israel.

The discovery of the virus should help in finding out whether the Borna virus also causes human mood disorders.

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