Viruses may cause disease but some can fall ill themselves. For the first time, a group of scientists have discovered a virus that targets other viruses. This new virus-of-viruses was discovered by Bernard La Scola and Christelle Desnues at the University of the Mediterranean, who have playfully named it Sputnik, after the Russian for “fellow traveller”. It is so unique that they have classified it in an entirely new family – the “virophages” – in honour of the similarities it shares with the bacteriophage viruses that use bacteria as hosts.
Yes, it’s another moonshot. But hey, we’ve got rovers rolling around on Mars right now, right?