Scientists Revive Zombie Virus from Permafrost
Scientists have successfully revived a virus that has been dormant for 48,500 years in the permafrost of Siberia. This discovery has raised concerns about the possibility of other ancient viruses and bacteria being released as a result of climate change.
The virus, known as Pithovirus sibericum, is not harmful to humans, but the findings have prompted scientists to investigate the risks associated with other ancient viruses that could be released as the permafrost continues to melt due to global warming.
Permafrost is a layer of soil, rock, and ice that remains frozen for at least two consecutive years, covering around a quarter of the land in the Northern Hemisphere. It acts as a natural freezer, preserving ancient viruses and bacteria that have been trapped inside for thousands of years.
However, the permafrost is melting at an alarming rate due to rising temperatures caused by human activities such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation. As a result, viruses and bacteria that have been dormant for thousands of years are being released into the environment.
In recent years, scientists have discovered several ancient viruses in the permafrost, including Pithovirus sibericum, which was discovered in 2014. The virus is large and has a complex structure, consisting of over 500 genes. It infects amoebas and is harmless to humans.
In a recent study, researchers from the French National Centre for Scientific Research and Aix-Marseille University were able to revive the virus by infecting amoebas with it. The virus was found to be still infectious after 48,500 years in the permafrost.
While Pithovirus sibericum is not harmful to humans, scientists warn that other ancient viruses that have yet to be discovered could pose a threat. These viruses could be more dangerous than modern viruses because humans have no immunity to them.
In addition, climate change could create new environments for these viruses to thrive in. For example, as the permafrost melts, it could release viruses that could infect animals such as reindeer, which could then transmit the virus to humans.
To prevent the release of ancient viruses and bacteria, scientists are calling for urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow down global warming. They also suggest that monitoring of the permafrost should be increased to detect any potential outbreaks.
In conclusion, the revival of the zombie virus from permafrost has raised concerns about the potential risks associated with other ancient viruses that could be released due to climate change. Urgent action is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent the release of these viruses into the environment.
Keywords: permafrost, virus, climate change, global warming, ancient, zombie virus
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