A giant virus that lurks inside amoebas and may cause pneumonia in humans has been spotted by scientists.

“Mimivirus” is the biggest virus found so far, and was discovered in a sample taken from a water cooling tower in Bradford, UK, in 1992.

It has at least 900 genes, an enormous number for a virus, and its size is more like that of a bacterium.

It can be spotted through a good optical microscope – most viruses can only be visualised by electron microscopes.

In terms of DNA, it is approximately a fifth bigger than the virus previously considered to be the largest in the world.
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