800 Million Viruses a Day Are Launched Into the Sky
A new research study has indicated the vast number of viruses swirling around the atmosphere. This new discovery turns the conventional belief about the spread of disease on its head and raises another alarm for the spread of new pathogens created by glyphosate and other Dna-damaging chemicals sprayed on farm fields.
In a new paper published recently in the International Society for Microbial Ecology Journal, the authors describe how viruses are propelled up from the ground into the troposphere, the atmospheric layer near the ground and stretching up to the stratosphere, where aircraft typically fly. It also showed how those same viruses can then be carried thousands of kilometers through the air before eventually being re-deposited on the ground.
The viruses (as well as bacteria) are kicked up into the air on small particles of soil dust and sea spray. After becoming airborne, they can move far and fast, provided they are in light enough clusters.
The authors of the study, including senior author Curtis Suttle, a University of British Columbia virologist, and his colleagues at the University of Granada in Spain and San Diego State University, began the research with the goal of understanding how much virus material was being lifted up over the atmospheric boundary layer approximately 2,500 to 3,000 meters (1,550 to 1,864 miles) above the Earth. In that area, particles can easily be transported thousands of meters and more through the air, unlike at locations closer to the Earth’s surface.
The authors did their research by measuring virus content in the air high up in Spain’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. There, they found that literally billions of viruses and tens of millions of bacteria were being deposited on the ground per square meter per day. Viruses in particular were coming down at deposit rates between 9 and 461 times greater than for bacteria.
To put it more in perspective, Suttle said, “Every day, more than 800 million viruses are deposited per square meter above the planetary boundary layer – that’s 25 viruses for each person in Canada.”
That is a lot of viruses, but more important still is realizing how far the viruses can travel. As Suttle noted, “Roughly 20 years ago we began finding genetically similar viruses occurring in very different environments around the globe. This preponderance of long-residence viruses traveling the atmosphere likely explains why – it’s quite conceivable to have a virus swept up into the atmosphere on one continent and deposited on another.”
Another author of the paper, microbial ecologist Isabel Reche from the University of Granada, said about the transport process: “Bacteria and viruses are typically deposited back to Earth via rain events and Saharan dust intrusions. However, the rain was less efficient removing viruses from the atmosphere.”
Sea spray, in fact, was determined to be the primary means by which the viruses had been carried up into the air, based on biological signatures attached to the viruses after they were re-deposited.
With such a vast number of viruses making their way into the sky, traveling literally from continent to continent and then coming back down to the Earth, it is no surprise that viruses with identical genetic makeups can propagate quickly across the planet. Even more important still is the sheer number of viruses that are being swept up, transported and then re-deposited every single day.
This discovery helps explain the rapid spread of new strains of influenza and other viral infections.
Combined with the number of viruses that come from space, the viral onslaught will only continue till humans live in a sealed environment.