According to a report in Euro News, scientists have revived the “Zombie’ virus, which spent 48,500 years frozen in the Arctic, to study the risks associated with it.
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Scientists for years have been warning about the dangers posed by viruses buried under ice caps in the Arctic and other places. Dubbed ‘zombie viruses’, they have the potential to unleash deadly strain of the disease that the present population is not equipped to handle. The threat has increased since rising temperatures due to global warming started melting the frozen ice. To better understand the risks associated with these ‘Zombie viruses’, a French scientist revived some of them from samples taken from Siberian permafrost, as per a report in Euro News. These viruses have spent thousands of years frozen in the ground.
It is to be noted that a fifth of the Northern Hemisphere is covered in permafrost, which has long supported the Arctic tundra and boreal forests of Alaska, Canada and Russia. Together with ancient viruses, it acts as a kind of time capsule, preserving the mummified remains of several extinct creatures.
By reviving these bacteria and viruses, researchers are attempting to determine how much of a threat they may be to mankind. A study about the discovery has been published in the journal Viruses in which the researchers stated, “Fortunately, we can reasonably hope that an epidemic caused by a revived prehistoric pathogenic bacterium could be quickly controlled by the modern antibiotics at our disposal even though bacteria carrying antibiotic-resistance genes appear to be surprisingly prevalent in permafrost.”
They warned that the situation would be “much much more disastrous in the case of plant, animal, or human diseases caused by the revival of an ancient unknown virus” since there is no specific treatment or vaccine available currently.
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According to Science Alert, scientists have successfully reanimated the zombie virus after it was trapped in Siberian permafrost for 50,000 years.
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