48,500-Year-Old ‘Zombie Virus’ Buried in Ice Revived by Scientists in Russia

Increased global warming has led to the thawing of ancient permafrost that covers one-quarter of the Northern Hemisphere. However, that’s not it! Scientists have revived a 48,000-year-old zombie virus that was locked beneath the ice to date. This has sparked fears of another pandemic after the resurrection of the ‘zombie virus’ that had been trapped under a frozen lake in Russia for over fifty thousand years.

The scientists from the French National Centre for Scientific Research unveiled over a dozen archaic viruses only to uncover the so-called ‘zombie-virus’ from the Siberian permafrost. The oldest, dubbed as Pandoravirus yedoma is known to be 48,500 years old which breaks the previous record held by a 30,000 old virus that was uncovered by the same team in 2013.

This strain is one of the thirteen viruses that have been found in the study, each one with its genome. Meanwhile, Pandoravirus was discovered at the bottom of Lake Yukechi Alas in Russia while other viruses have been found in the mammoth’s fur or the intestines of the Siberian wolf.

Having studied the ‘zombie virus’, scientists discovered that they have the potential to be infectious and can therefore be a “health threat”. Researchers have long warned that the thawing of permafrost due to increased global temperature would worsen climate change as the ever-melting permafrost continues to release dormant pathogens. Therefore, the world seems to be trapped in a vicious cycle when the organic matter released by the process of thawing decomposes into carbon dioxide and methane, which further enhances the greenhouse effect, thus increasing the melt.

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According to the NY Post, it is stated that the risk of ancient viral particles remaining infectious and getting back into circulation is escalated by the thawing of ancient permafrost layers. University of California virologist Eric Delwart hence claimed, “If the authors are indeed isolating live viruses from ancient permafrost, it is likely that the even smaller, simpler mammalian viruses would also survive frozen for eons.”

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