From rabies to bird flu to HIV, diseases passing from animals to humans is a well-known phenomenon. But a virus jumping from plants to humans? Never. At least, that's what doctors thought until Didier Raoult of the University of the Mediterranean in Marseilles, France, discovered that the mild mottle virus found in peppers may be causing fever, aches, and itching in humans. If validated, this would mark the first time a plant virus has been found to cause problems in people.
Plant viruses are routinely found in human feces, along with the digested plant matter they infected. Based on that presence, Raoult interviewed 304 people about how frequently they suffered from fever, abdominal pain, and skin irritation. Of the 304 patients, the 21 people with pepper mild mottle virus in their feces were more likely than the others to present those symptoms.
Not everyone is convinced, however. Robert Garry, a virologist at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, claims the virus lacks the biochemical key needed to gain entry into a cell, and thus couldn't possibly infect human tissue. Additionally, since Raoult only asked about very general, common symptoms, Garry believes that the results might be within random variation.
Raoult, obviously, stands by his discovery, and claims that what he observed may not be the infection of human cells by the virus per se, but viral RNA accidental interfering with the function of human RNA. Either way, this looks to be a quirk of biology, not a concerted evolution by a plant disease to infect animals. So please, feel safe going back to gardening without wearing a SARS mask.
infect this plant/human virus in poppy plants, so people can't use heroin :-)
Yeay a way to get plant dna into my cells, I AM PEPPER MAN so... what kinda super powers do i get?
umm.. isn't there a way to take human cells and use this virus on them to check if they are infected?
don't labs do that, like all the time?
Why would trees and other plants ever want to start a biological war with the humans? What have humans ever done to them? Oh, wait ... nevermind.
Maybe the people felt sick not because of the virus but the dying plant that they were eating. When salad turns brown and now sits in the brown liquid that has been shed from its once crisp green self, do you think that maybe its just going to upset your stomach and who knows what else. Anybody want to try eating that and see if you get sick, if so, I think you may have found a virus that infects us both.
So...just how is this "evidence" of anything?
Honestly, this article is silly. Not the topic itself which is really hot but the manner the "facts" are put together.
The photo showing necrotic lines on horse chestnut leaves is totally out of place as it's not showing the blight (btw. this is caused by fungus NOT a virus) and as the damage visible is NOT caused by a virus but rather by a caterpillar of a moth, the so called horse chestnut leaf miner (Cameraria ohridella). Please check wikipedia for Horse-chestnut_leaf_miner at:
So, Stuart write 100x "I shall not say stupid things."
Viruses produce chemical toxins just as bacteria and fungi. Therefore it is irrelevant regard to it source, be it plant or animal. The end result of damage to the tissue, animal or plant is the same in terms of sickness or mortality.