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SARS – From Evolution or Space?
AFAR
5/27/2003

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While most scientists have reason to believe that the SARS virus is an animal virus that mutated and leapt the species barrier from farm animals to humans, there is some debate around a new theory: a virus from space.

A trio of astrobiologists in India and Britain are suggesting that the SARS virus may have come from space. The idea came from experiments where "large quantities of viable micro-organisms" were captured at altitudes of up to 41,000 meters.

The letter, published in the British medical weekly, The Lancet, was written by Jayant Narlikar of the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Pune, India; Chandra Wickramasinghe of Cardiff University's Centre for Astrobiology; and Milton Wainwright of Sheffield University's Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology in Britain.

The letter explained that the great flu pandemic of 1918-1919, which slew tens of millions of people, might have been just such an example of a disease sown from space.

Other experts say that the conditions in space are too severe for such germs to survive in space and that the possibilities are very unlikely.

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