A team of researchers who analyzed a 16th century mummy made an unexpected discovery. People believed that the person suffered from smallpox, but they had a great suprise. In fact, the child, deshumed from a church in Naples, Italy, suffered from hepatitis B, according to DNA analysis.
Thanks to this discovery, scientists sequenced the complete genome of a very old HBV strain. This is a pathogen that kills 1.5 million people every year. Researchers will now be able to better study the evolution of the virus to try to find more effective treatments
Children infected with HBV may develop Gianotti-Crosti syndrome, which may leave signs on their faces. That's why the researchers were initially misled.
Approximately 350 million people suffer from hepatitis B.