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Scientists Revive 48,500-Year-Old ‘Zombie Virus’ Buried in Ice

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Scientists revive 48,500-year-old 'zombie virus' buried in ice

A potential resurgence of the virus could infect animals and humans, researchers say. (representative)

Thawing of ancient permafrost due to climate change could pose new threats to humanity, according to researchers who have revived about 20 viruses, including one that froze under lakes more than 48,500 years ago. .

European researchers have examined ancient samples taken from permafrost in the Siberian region of Russia. They resurrected and characterized 13 new pathogens they called “zombie viruses” and found that they remained infectious despite being trapped in frozen ground for thousands of years. .

Scientists have long warned that the thawing of permafrost due to atmospheric warming will exacerbate climate change by releasing previously trapped greenhouse gases such as methane. However, its effects on dormant pathogens are less well understood.

A team of researchers from Russia, Germany and France found that the biological risk of reviving the studied virus was “totally negligible” because of the strains studied, mainly strains that could infect amoeba microbes. Stated. The potential resurgence of the virus, which could infect animals and humans, is far more problematic, they say, warning that their research can be extrapolated to show that the danger is real.

“Ancient permafrost is therefore likely to release these unknown viruses upon thawing,” they wrote in an article posted on the as-yet-unpeer-reviewed preprint repository bioRxiv. It is not yet possible to estimate how long an organism can remain infective after being exposed to outdoor conditions, and how likely it is to encounter and infect a suitable host during that time.”

“However, as permafrost thaw continues to accelerate and more people live in the Arctic as a result of industrial ventures, there is no doubt that risks will increase in the context of global warming,” they said.

(This article is not edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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