News » Science and Technology
Thawing ancient permafrost due to climate change could pose a new threat to humanity, say researchers who have revived nearly two dozen ancient viruses, including one frozen in the ice column more than 48,500 years ago.
European researchers studied ancient samples collected from permafrost in the Siberian region of Russia. They isolated and characterized 13 new pathogens they called “zombie viruses” and found that they remain contagious despite being trapped for many millennia. in frozen ground.
Scientists have long warned that melting permafrost due to a warming atmosphere will exacerbate climate change by releasing previously trapped greenhouse gases. pathogens are less studied.
The research team said the biological risk of resuscitation of the viruses they studied was “completely negligible,” largely because these viruses can only infect protozoan amoebae. The potential resurgence of a virus that could infect animals or humans is far less likely, they said. however, the danger is still real.
“It is likely that the ancient permafrost will release yet unknown viruses when it thaws,” — they wrote in an article awaiting peer review.
In the event of such a “zombie resurgence” it is not known how long these viruses can survive and remain infectious after exposure to external conditions. It is also not yet possible to estimate how likely it is that they will find and infect a suitable host in that amount of time.
industrial progress, the Arctic will be populated by more and more people, ", — the researchers said.
Follow us on Telegram