RUSSIA: Scientist discovered a 48,500-year-old “zombie virus” trapped under the ice.
Climate change-induced melting of ancient permafrost may pose a new hazard to humanity, according to researchers who recovered over a 2 dozen viruses, particularly one that was frozen beneath a lake more than 48,500 years ago.
Researchers from Europe examined ancient samples retrieved from the Siberian permafrost in Russia. They found that despite spending countless years frozen in the soil, 13 novel pathogens that they revived and dubbed “zombie viruses” were still infectious.
The researcher believes that held greenhouse gases like methane will now be released as a result of the permafrost melting brought on by atmospheric warming.
Scientists have long warned that this could accelerate climate change. However, less is known about how it affects dormant infections.
The Russian, German, and French study teams said that because they concentrated on strains that can primarily attack amoeba microorganisms, the biological risk of reviving the viruses they researched was “absolutely minimal.”
They warned that their research might be extrapolated to indicate the danger is genuine, saying the possible rebirth of a virus that could infect humans or animals is considerably more dangerous.
The study’s findings were disseminated in a preprint article on the bioRxiv platform that has not yet been subjected to peer review. They claimed that old permafrost can thaw and release these unidentified viruses.
The duration for which these viruses could remain contagious after exposure to outside circumstances, and the likelihood that they will come into contact with and infect a compatible host during that time are still unknown
Researchers also believe that due to global warming, the risk would inevitably rise as permafrost thawing continues to speed up, and more people will move to the Arctic as a result of industrial endeavours.