- Oldest known sample of the variola virus has been found in the DNA of a child mummy
- This latest research suggests that smallpox is much more recent than we might think
(CNN)The oldest known sample of the smallpox-causing variola virus has been found within the DNA of a 17th century child mummy. The mummy was found in a crypt beneath a Lithuanian church, according to a new study in the journal Current Biology. The finding shortens the timeline for how long smallpox may have afflicted humans.