The report hit all the science narrative buzzwords: Pandemic, climate change, and greenhouse effect.
French scientists report they have revived a “zombie virus” from Siberian permafrost that is nearly 50,000 years old, a record age for a frozen virus returning to a state capable of infecting other organisms.
The team behind the work, led by microbiologist Jean-Marie Alempic from the French National Centre for Scientific Research, says these reanimating viruses are potentially a significant threat to public health, and further study needs to be done to assess the danger that these infectious agents could pose as they awake from their icy slumber.
“One quarter of the Northern Hemisphere is underlain by permanently frozen ground, referred to as permafrost,” write the researchers in their paper.
…The 48,500-year-old amoeba virus is actually one of 13 outlined in a new study currently in preprint, with nine of them thought to be tens of thousands of years old. The researchers established that each one was distinct from all other known viruses in terms of their genome.
The premise of the research is that these viruses could be unleashed by “climate change.” Professor Jean-Michel Claverie, who led the study, warned medical authorities about the potential impact of newly revived viruses.
His team said up to a fifth of the land in the northern hemisphere is underpinned by permanently frozen ground, which, if left to thaw, could unleash a string of deadly microbes that have laid dormant for thousands of years.
“This wrongly suggests that such occurrences are rare and that ‘zombie viruses’ are not a public health threat,” Prof Claverie’s team wrote in their findings.
The scientist isolated 13 types of virus from seven ancient Siberian permafrost samples and only looked at those that infected an amoeba known as acanthamoeba.
This was for safety reasons as these bugs are believed not to be able to infect humans.
“The biohazard associated with reviving prehistorical amoeba-infecting viruses is … totally negligible,” the study read.
The French scientists hit all the narrative science buzzwords in their report…including the “greenhouse effect.”
After studying the live cultures, scientists found that all the “zombie viruses” have the potential to be infectious, and are therefore a “health threat.” They postulate that we could see more COVID-19-style pandemics in the future as ever-melting permafrost continues to release long-dormant viruses like a microbial Captain America.
“It is therefore legitimate to ponder the risk of ancient viral particles remaining infectious and getting back into circulation by the thawing of ancient permafrost layers,” they write. Unfortunately, it’s a vicious cycle as organic matter released by the thawing ice decomposes into carbon dioxide and methane, further enhancing the greenhouse effect and accelerating the melt.
For extra drama, the scientists named the virus Pandoravirus yedoma. In Greek mythology, Pandora was the first human woman to open up a cursed box and unleash evil into the world.
Before the panic sets in, it is good to note that the extent of snow coverage in the Northern Hemisphere is the highest it has been in 56 years.
Snow extent in the Northern Hemisphere at the end of November represents an important parameter for the early winter forecast. This year snow extent is running much higher than average and according to existing global estimates, it is now beyond the highest ever observed so far.
We may want those greenhouse gases and warmer temperatures, despite the potential for the zombie virus, in the middle of what is setting up to be an icy winter.DONATE
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