In the News

SARS could be Alien

Ananova:

Sars could be alien says Professor.

A Wales-based scientist says Sars maybe from outer space.

Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe, from the University of Cardiff, says the pattern of the outbreak indicates the bug may have fallen from the stratosphere. Nasa has previously claimed to have found fossilised microbes in a lump of rock blown off the surface of Mars that landed as a meteorite on Earth.

In a letter to the Lancet medical journal, Professor Wickramasinghe and colleagues in the UK and India pointed out that Sars was unexpectedly novel and appeared suddenly in China. They wrote: "A small amount of the culprit virus introduced into the stratosphere could make a first tentative fall out east of the great mountain range of the Himalayas, where the stratosphere is thinnest, followed by sporadic deposits in neighbouring areas."

The viral "fall out" would be likely to continue seasonally over a few years. They added: "We should remain vigilant for the appearance of new sites almost anywhere on the planet. New cases might continue to appear until the stratospheric supply of the causative agent becomes exhausted."

According to figures updated yesterday by the World Health Organisation, a total of 7,956 Sars cases have now been confirmed, causing 666 deaths. Professor Wickramasinghe has previously suggested that BSE was extraterrestrial in origin.

Story filed: 07:22 Friday 23rd May 2003

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