It was 1907 when Chlamydia has first been discovered. Then, it had infected an orangutan. Today, we know that Chlamydia can affect both animals and humans. Chlamydia has been declared as a dangerous sexually transmitted disease (STD), one that is easily transmitted through having unprotected sexual intercourse. In fact, chlamydia is considered to be the most common STD in the United States, affecting around 2.86 million Americans each year. As such, doctors are constantly talking about the need to raise awareness and proper prevention methods.
Recently, some new information has come to us. Researchers have made a rather shocking discovery that has little to do with the Chlamydia as we know it to be. Let’s find what was it that shock researchers and doctors all around the world!
New chlamydia species discovered living under the Atlantic Ocean
When a group of researchers from Uppsala University and the University of Bergen first traveled to a region located in the Mid-Atlantic Ocean to study the chemical composition of the ocean floor’s sediment, they found something completely different. They have been analyzing some samples that they have gathered up near a hydrothermal vent called Loki’s Castle. For those of you who do not know, Loki’s Castle is located halfway between Norway and Greenland just on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean itself.
Analyzing the samples of the deep marine sediments that they have gathered up, they noticed something that, from past knowledge, was not supposed to be there. What they were looking at was a clear proof of Chlamydiae living almost two miles under the Atlantic Ocean – a place where it was not supposed to be, at least not in a state in which they have been alive.
From past studies and researchers, we know that Chlamydiae are not able to live in that sort of environment, especially not outside a host organism. So, when the researchers did not find any host organisms in this environment, that made them question themselves. What has changed so the Chlamydia can survive under these new circumstances?
The answer seemed to be right in front of them – they were looking at new Chlamydia specie, and not only one for that matter. They found dozens of new strains that they have not seen ever before. These new strains, unlike the ones that we have known so far about, could live without infecting a human being. But not only that – Chlamydia is also known to be able to infect animals as well, including cows, pigs, chickens, sheep, and even koalas. And now, these new strains have been perfectly capable of living in a new environment, outside a host.
Despite their hardest attempts, researchers have failed to grow any of these new strains in a laboratory setting. They have explained this as a possibility of the Chlamydiae of being dependent on the surrounding microbial life underseas. They would possibly need the microbial life in the underseas sediment to be able to survive the extreme pressure as well as the lack of oxygen which they are faced with living two miles under the Atlantic Ocean.
But researchers are also confident when they say that these new strains can be significant for the environment that they live in. The researchers have published their findings in Current Biology. All in all, more research needs to be done to discover further details about the life and existence of these new Chlamydia strains.
There have been many shocking discoveries over the years. Many of them have been made rather suddenly. The researchers might have been aiming to find or confirm a theory of theirs only to end up discovering something entirely different. In 2020, that was exactly what had happened.
While on a mission of theirs, researchers have successfully found a new strain, or should we say strains of Chlamydiae surviving in entirely different conditions and an environment where we would not hoping on finding it. It was two miles under the Atlantic Ocean where these new strains have been discovered with their meaning yet to be determined.