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17 th Century Variola Virus Reveals the Recent History of Smallpox

Overview of attention for article published in Current Biology, December 2016
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • Among the highest-scoring outputs from this source (#28 of 11,166)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (98th percentile)

Citations

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68 Dimensions

Readers on

mendeley
149 Mendeley
citeulike
2 CiteULike
Title
17 th Century Variola Virus Reveals the Recent History of Smallpox
Published in
Current Biology, December 2016
DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2016.10.061
Pubmed ID
Authors

Ana T. Duggan, Maria F. Perdomo, Dario Piombino-Mascali, Stephanie Marciniak, Debi Poinar, Matthew V. Emery, Jan P. Buchmann, Sebastian Duchêne, Rimantas Jankauskas, Margaret Humphreys, G. Brian Golding, John Southon, Alison Devault, Jean-Marie Rouillard, Jason W. Sahl, Olivier Dutour, Klaus Hedman, Antti Sajantila, Geoffrey L. Smith, Edward C. Holmes, Hendrik N. Poinar

Abstract

Smallpox holds a unique position in the history of medicine. It was the first disease for which a vaccine was developed and remains the only human disease eradicated by vaccination. Although there have been claims of smallpox in Egypt, India, and China dating back millennia [1-4], the timescale of emergence of the causative agent, variola virus (VARV), and how it evolved in the context of increasingly widespread immunization, have proven controversial [4-9]. In particular, some molecular-clock-based studies have suggested that key events in VARV evolution only occurred during the last two centuries [4-6] and hence in apparent conflict with anecdotal historical reports, although it is difficult to distinguish smallpox from other pustular rashes by description alone. To address these issues, we captured, sequenced, and reconstructed a draft genome of an ancient strain of VARV, sampled from a Lithuanian child mummy dating between 1643 and 1665 and close to the time of several documented European epidemics [1, 2, 10]. When compared to vaccinia virus, this archival strain contained the same pattern of gene degradation as 20(th) century VARVs, indicating that such loss of gene function had occurred before ca. 1650. Strikingly, the mummy sequence fell basal to all currently sequenced strains of VARV on phylogenetic trees. Molecular-clock analyses revealed a strong clock-like structure and that the timescale of smallpox evolution is more recent than often supposed, with the diversification of major viral lineages only occurring within the 18(th) and 19(th) centuries, concomitant with the development of modern vaccination.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 109 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 149 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Switzerland 1 <1%
France 1 <1%
Brazil 1 <1%
Finland 1 <1%
Canada 1 <1%
Croatia 1 <1%
Unknown 143 96%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 35 23%
Researcher 26 17%
Student > Bachelor 17 11%
Student > Doctoral Student 10 7%
Student > Master 8 5%
Other 29 19%
Unknown 24 16%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 41 28%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 28 19%
Medicine and Dentistry 13 9%
Immunology and Microbiology 12 8%
Arts and Humanities 10 7%
Other 18 12%
Unknown 27 18%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 1522. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 21 August 2020.
All research outputs
#2,797
of 15,879,879 outputs
Outputs from Current Biology
#28
of 11,166 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#92
of 390,038 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Current Biology
#3
of 196 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 15,879,879 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 11,166 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 45.5. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 390,038 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 196 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 98% of its contemporaries.