48,500-Year-Old ‘Zombie Virus’: According to researchers who revived nearly two dozen viruses, including one frozen under a lake more than 48,500 years ago, the thawing of ancient permafrost due to climate change may pose a new threat to humans.
European researchers examined ancient samples taken from permafrost in Russia’s Siberia region. They resurrected and characterized 13 new pathogens, dubbed “zombie viruses,” and discovered that they remained infectious despite spending millennia frozen in the ground.
Scientists have long warned that permafrost thawing caused by atmospheric warming will exacerbate climate change by releasing previously trapped greenhouse gases such as methane. However, its impact on dormant pathogens is less clear.
The biological risk of reanimating the viruses studied, according to the team of researchers from Russia, Germany, and France, was “totally negligible” due to the strains they targeted, primarily those capable of infecting amoeba microbes. The potential resurgence of a virus that could infect animals or humans is much more problematic, they said, warning that their findings can be extrapolated to demonstrate the threat is real.
“The situation would be much more disastrous in the case of plant, animal, or human diseases caused by the revival of an ancient unknown virus,” according to the viral study. Despite the fact that it began with a lot of panic and people expressing concerns about the future, it quickly devolved into a memefest. Twitterati opened their meme treasure chest and shared amusing posts comparing the zombie virus to the ‘endgame.’
JUST IN: Scientists revive 48,500 year old “zombie virus” buried in ice 😳‼️ pic.twitter.com/ysdiFVbzHq
— RapTV (@Rap) November 29, 2022
“However, the risk is bound to increase in the context of global warming, as permafrost thawing accelerates and more people migrate to the Arctic as a result of industrial ventures,” they said.
Scientists in Russia revive 48,000 year old #zombievirus
Humans : pic.twitter.com/vxMY9BFjKk
— UmderTamker (@jhampakjhum) November 30, 2022
Because they have the potential to be infectious, this has sparked fears of another pandemic.
— Mr. Stark (@Mr_Stark_) November 30, 2022