According to researchers who recovered almost two dozen viruses, including one that had been frozen under a lake for more than 48,500 years, the thawing of old permafrost as a result of climate change may represent a new threat to humanity. This information was gleaned through the researchers’ work.
Ancient samples were extracted from the permafrost in the Siberia area of Russia and analyzed by specialists from Europe. They resurrected and classified 13 new infections, which they referred to as “zombie viruses,” and discovered that even after spending many millennia dormant in the frozen earth, the viruses retained their ability to cause disease.
Because of the warming of the atmosphere, scientists have been warning for a long time that the melting of permafrost will make climate change worse by releasing greenhouse gases like methane that had been stored there. However, less is known about how it affects microorganisms that are already sleeping.
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As their focus was on viral strains that may infect amoeba microorganisms, the biological danger of reanimating the viruses they researched was deemed “absolutely low” by the scientific team from Russia, Germany, and France. They warned that their findings may be extended to indicate that the threat is genuine and that the possible resurgence of a virus that might infect animals or people is a far bigger risk than they had anticipated.
“It is thus likely that ancient permafrost will release these unknown viruses upon thawing,” they wrote in an article that was posted to the preprint repository bioRxiv but hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed by experts in the field. “It is thus likely that ancient permafrost will release these unknown viruses upon thawing,” they wrote. “It is still hard to determine how long these viruses may remain active after being exposed to outside circumstances, as well as how probable it is that they will come across and infect a suitable host in the gap between now and then,”
They stated that “the risk is bound to increase in the context of global warming when permafrost thawing will keep accelerating, and more people will be populating the Arctic as a result of industrial ventures.” “But the risk is bound to increase in the context of global warming when permafrost thawing will keep accelerating.”