A mysterious new virus of completely unknown origin has emerged from a lake in Brazil leaving scientists“puzzled”.
Being dubbed the Yaravirus, the microscopic organism was discovered in the artificial lake Pampulha in Belo Horizonte.
The new form of virus has stunned experts as it has almost no recognisable genes – being almost 90% completely “new”.
Scientists sequenced the genome and discovered the vast majority of its genes had never been found before.
It was named “Yara” after a figure from Brazilian folklore, a beautiful mermaid-like figure who would lure sailors underwater to their deaths.
And it comes just as doctors work to battle the emerging coronavirus which has infected more than 40,000 people worldwide.
Yaravirus was found after being collected from amoebae, seemingly being much smaller than other known viruses know to infect the creatures.
Scientists described the virus has having a “puzzling origin” when they revealed their findings on science website bioRxiv.
One expert described the findings as opening a “whole new treasure chest of previously-unseen biochemical processes”.
It is understood currently the virus cannot pass on to humans.