Viral link to colorectal cancer

These viruses may survive mild cooking and then exert a silent but otherwise oncogenic effect on the human gut, researchers say.

German virologist Harald zur Hausen, who received a Nobel Prize in 2008 for discovering the link between HPV and cervical cancer, has reviewed the available evidence.

He points to the overlap between countries with rising beef consumption and CRC incidence – particularly Japan and Korea, where “undercooked” beef dishes are now popular and CRC rates have doubled since 1975.

Countries with rising consumption of well-cooked beef, such as Saudi Arabia, have not seen the same gains in CRC risk, he found.

“The global epidemiological pattern of CRC incidence justifies the consideration of a specific bovine factor as an important contributor,” Professor zur Hausen writes. “Infectious agents, which upon transmission to humans, are likely to be replication-incompetent but potentially