30 NOV 2022 A “zombie virus” that had been dormant in a Russian lake for 48,500 years has been resurrected by French researchers.
As reported by the New York Post, the resurgence of the zombie virus has French experts worried about the possibility of another global epidemic.
The New York Post cited unpublished research on the spread of the zombie virus. If a previously undiscovered zombie virus from antiquity were to suddenly reassert itself and cause illness in modern plants, animals, or humans, the results would be “far more severe,” according to the research.
The preliminary analysis indicates that the perennially frozen ground that accounts for one-fourth of the Northern Hemisphere is being irreversibly thawed due to global warming. There is cause for concern since this has “released biological materials frozen for up to a million years,” which may contain potentially lethal pathogens.
According to the study’s authors, “part of this organic debris also consists of resurrected cellular microorganisms (prokaryotes, unicellular eukaryotes, and viruses that remained dormant since ancient times.”
In an odd move, scientists have reportedly brought back some of these “zombie viruses” from the Siberian tundra in order to study the newly-awakened creatures, as reported by the New York Post.
The oldest, Pandoravirus yedoma, was 48,500 years old, making it the oldest virus ever to recover from the deep freeze. This is older than the previous record-holder, a virus discovered in Siberia in 2013 that was estimated to be 30,000 years old.
According to Science Alert, the new strain is only one of 13 viruses revealed in the research, each of which has its unique genome.
While the Pandoravirus was found in lake sediment in Yakutia, Russia’s Yukechi Alas, researchers have found evidence of additional viruses in mammoth hair and the guts of Siberian wolves.
After studying the living cultures, scientists concluded that all of the “zombie viruses” had the potential to be contagious, making them a “health threat.” Melting permafrost unleashes latent viruses like a microbial Captain America, leading them to speculate that coivd-style pandemics would become more widespread in the future.
“It is thus reasonable to consider the possibility that certain old virus particles may remain infectious and might be released back into circulation as a result of the melting of ancient permafrost levels,” they write.
The organic stuff released by the melting ice decomposes into carbon dioxide and methane, further amplifying the greenhouse effect and speeding up the melt.
The New York Post notes that there are possibly more dormant viruses waiting to be uncovered, making the recently thawed virus only the tip of the epidemiological iceberg.
To determine how these undiscovered viruses respond to light, heat, oxygen, and other environmental factors, further study is required.