Here’s how early romance helped spread the cold sore virus.

The modern strain of the virus that causes cold sores has been traced back to around 5,000 years ago, and researchers say its spread may be traced back to the appearance of kissing.

According to the World Health Organization, about 3.7 billion people – the majority of the world’s population – have a lifetime infection with the HSV-1 virus behind facial herpes.

But despite its ubiquity, relatively little is known about the history of the virus, or how it spreads around the world.

So an international team of researchers examined the DNA of hundreds of human teeth found in ancient archaeology.

They found four people who had the virus at the time of their deaths, then sequenced their genomes for research published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.

“Using these reconstructed genomes, we were able to determine that all the mutations in the modern strain were detected at some late, early It is in the Bronze Age.”

“It was a bit surprising because it has been assumed that herpes is something that has evolved with humans for a very long time,” he told AFP.
Never kissed.

That’s still true, he said: All primate species have some form of herpes, and humans likely got the strain when they first left Africa.

But research indicates that those earlier strains were replaced by the modern form about 5,000 years ago.
So what brought about this change? The researchers proposed two theories.

Around 5,000 years ago there was a time of great migration from Eurasia to Europe, and this spread may have influenced the virus.

Another theory? This was the time when people started kissing each other romantically.
“This is definitely a way to change the transmission of the herpes virus,” Scheib said.

The virus is usually passed from parent to child, but kissing would have given it a whole new way to jump between hosts, he said.

“There is some textual evidence that begins to appear in the Bronze Age of kissing between romantic partners,” Scheib said.

‘very great’

Researchers say the earliest record of kissing is a Bronze Age manuscript from South Asia, suggesting that the practice may have also moved from Eurasia to Europe.

Kissing “isn’t a universal human trait,” Scheib stressed, adding that it’s hard to pinpoint when it started — or if it’s definitively linked to the spread of HSV-1.

About 2,000 years ago, the Roman emperor Tiberius was believed to have banned kissing at official events to prevent the spread of herpes.

Study co-senior author Charlotte Holdcroft, also from Cambridge, said viruses like herpes evolve on a “much larger timescale” than Covid-19, which the world has seen evolve over months.

“Herpes of the face hides in its host for life and spreads only through oral contact, so mutations happen slowly over centuries and thousands of years,” he said.

“Earlier, the genetic data for herpes only went back to 1925,” he added, calling for more “time-intensive investigations” of the virus.

“Only genetic samples that are hundreds or even thousands of years old will allow us to understand how DNA viruses like herpes and monkeypox, as well as our own immune systems, are adapting in response to each other.”

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