Melting Permafrost Could Unleash Ancient Zombie Virus

Melting Permafrost Could Unleash Ancient Zombie Virus

( – Permafrost in Siberia is melting, releasing potentially devastating germs that have been dormant for over several thousand years or more.

If, for example, an ancient sickness wiped out the Neanderthals, their frozen bodies may still be harboring the infectious viruses that killed them, as noted by Jean-Michel Claverie, a virologist. The melting ice would make them accessible. The viruses had already been previously discovered in a flu victim’s lungs, mammoth wool, ancient wolf remains, and permafrost-preserved Siberian mummies in Alaska.

The thawing permafrost poses a potential threat because it might release pathogens such as germs, viruses, and microbes. Anthrax spores, dormant in the ice, were released in Siberia during a 2016 heat wave, killing a toddler and a number of reindeer in the thousands.

Claverie has cautioned that there may be additional ancient viruses frozen under the ice, which some might infect people. Since his lab has previously recovered huge viruses that date back as far as 48,000 years, caution should be heeded.

Permafrost is ground that is permanently frozen, and it covers one-fourth of the earth’s northern hemisphere. Smallpox and other illnesses may be found frozen in the bodies of victims, and scientists have previously cautioned that melting ice might release these pathogens.

According to Claverie, we must return in time by 50,000 years to find the moment when Neanderthals left the area. If Neanderthals perished from a virus we don’t know about and that virus reappears, it might pose a threat to modern humans.

Last year, the World Health Organization began a worldwide scientific consultation on “Disease X,” an unidentified infection with the potential to spread across the world.

Claverie stated that he would not return to the area because of the potential for the study to unintentionally release a new pathogen. In order to better understand the health of the Inuit people, he suggested setting up a dedicated monitoring system.

He also said that if something is coming up through the permafrost, they would most likely be the first to come down with the disease.

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