Biologists from the Ostrava University have scored!

9/4 2018

Scientists from the Ostrava University were very surprised, when researching biodiversity. They found a virus among their samples which nobody had seen before. Biologists from the laboratory, which is involved, among other, in the treatment of Leishmaniasis, have given it a symbolic name: OstraVirus. The city of the discovery becomes now famous around the world. However, the only common feature of Ostrava and the virus is the name and the fact that it has been found by the researchers from the Ostrava University

Biologists from the Ostrava University have scored!

Vyacheslav Yurchenko, laboratory manager

“It does not remind us of any other virus on the planet Earth. It is so different that we had to use special mathematical methods to confirm its virus nature. So far, we cannot say if this is just a new species, tribe or a genus. However, we are certain that nobody has seen it before and that is a great discovery which does not happen in life of researchers very often,” said the laboratory manager Vyacheslav Yurchenko.

The story of OstraVirus is interesting also because the researchers have basically found it by chance.

“The original plan did not count on finding a new virus. It was much broader biodiversity research which was supposed to give us an insight beyond the current knowledge, to uncover hidden facts outside the known. We worked on the project for four years and the discovery of OstraVirus has become the unexpected peak,” said Yurchenko.

His enthusiasm and excitement are shared by researchers across all continents. The article about OstraVirus was published in one of the most prestigious multi-disciplinary scientific journals in the world: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Yurchenko and his team see in that a big opportunity to present not only this partial success but also Ostrava and the top science which takes place in this area of biology.

The online journal by the Ostrava University has published in the past the interview with this researcher, who tries to find alternative possibilities how to treat and vaccinate Leishmaniasis – the disorder which, as he says, is not lucrative for pharmaceutical companies because only people in Asia and Africa suffer of it. And it is the second biggest killer disease of its kind, while Malaria takes the first place. His team works on the development of the so-called “self-destructive Leishmaniasis alternative” which could become the vaccination chance against Leishmaniasis. You can find the complete interview here. You can learn more about this researcher, originally from Ukraine, and his profile here.

Yurchenko regularly cooperates during his projects with experts countrywide and from the world. In the case of OstraVirus, there were also researchers from the Institute of Parasitology in České Budějovice, Charles University, CEITEC in Brno, and also researchers from the United States, Switzerland, Brasilia, Lithuania, and Russia.