It’s something out of a disaster movie. A mysterious virus is discovered in 30,000 year old ice, perfectly preserved, and modern day scientists put in motion a plan to bring it back to life.
However, this isn’t a story being made in a Hollywood movie studio, but rather in a Siberian tundra.
The French National Centre for Scientific Research team has discovered a prehistoric virus that it believes has been perfectly frozen in ice for 30,000 years. The virus, Mollivirus sibericum, is classified as a “giant virus” due to its relatively large size of .6 microns.
The team plans to reanimate the virus under controlled conditions in order to learn if it presents a possible threat to humans, livestock or other animals. The scientists warn that these viruses could be unleashed on their own due to either climate change or civilization expanded into more remote areas.
The lead researcher, Jean-Michel Claverie, said the following about their research:
‘The fact that two different viruses could be easily revived from prehistoric permafrost should be of concern in a context of global warming.’
‘A few viral particles that are still infectious may be enough, in the presence of a vulnerable host, to revive potentially pathogenic viruses.’
‘If we are not careful, and we industrialise these areas without putting safeguards in place, we run the risk of one day waking up viruses such as small pox that we thought were eradicated.’
Source: Daily Mail