Ancient Zombie Viruses Could Unleash Deadly Pandemic In New York
After finding a virus that's nearly 50,000 years old, scientists believe ancient "zombie viruses" pose a "tangible threat" to humans.
Concerned scientists are focusing on ancient "zombie viruses" that could be unleashed.
Zombie Viruses May Cause Deadly New Pandemic
The melting of the Arctic could unleash ancient zombie viruses and trigger a pandemic.
Scientists from southern France fear viruses that are currently trapped in Arctic ice could be unleashed due to global warming and fear once they are unfrozen these viruses may start a deadly new pandemic.
“At the moment, analyses of pandemic threats focus on diseases that might emerge in southern regions and then spread north,” Geneticist Jean-Michel Claverie of Aix-Marseille University told the Guardian.
“By contrast, little attention has been given to an outbreak that might emerge in the far north and then travel south – and that is an oversight, I believe. There are viruses up there that have the potential to infect humans and start a new disease outbreak.”
Recently, Claverie led a team of scientists in Siberia and learned viruses could still infect after they've been buried in permafrost for thousands of years.
“We now face a tangible threat and we need to be prepared to deal with it. It is as simple as that,” Claverie added.
Virus Nearly 50,000 Years Old Found
One virus that was found was 48,500 years old!
“The viruses we isolated were only able to infect amoebae and posed no risk to humans,” Claverie added. “However, that does not mean that other viruses, currently frozen in the permafrost, might not be able to trigger illnesses in humans. We have identified genomic traces of poxviruses and herpesviruses, which are well-known human pathogens, for example.”
Scientists believe frozen Methuselah microbes, which are also called zombie viruses, could remain viable for tens of thousands of years, scientists say.
"We see the traces of many, many, many other viruses,” Claverie said. “If the amoeba viruses are still alive, there is no reason why the other viruses will not be still alive, and capable of infecting their own hosts.”