Scientists warn about the dangers of viruses trapped beneath ice sheets in Arctic permafrost and other regions in a new research.
The Guardian reported that experts believe thawing Arctic permafrost may unleash ‘zombie viruses’ that might trigger worldwide health crises.
Global warming has raised temperatures, melting glaciers, and increasing the zombie virus danger.
Scientists examined Siberian permafrost samples from last year to better grasp these viruses’ hazards. For millennia, these viruses have frozen.
Geneticist Jean-Michel Claverie of Aix-Marseille University told The Guardian, “Pandemic dangers are now analysed for southern-to-northern propagation. An epidemic that might start in the far north and spread south has received little attention, which I think is a mistake. There are viruses that might infect people and spread illness.”
Single-celled organisms may contract live viruses: Scientists
Scientist Marion Koopmans of Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam agreed, saying, “We don’t know what viruses are in the permafrost, but I think there’s a real risk that one could cause a disease outbreak, like an ancient form of polio. Something like this must be expected.
In 2014, Claverie’s Siberian team found that living viruses may infect single-celled animals after thousands of years in permafrost. One viral sample is 48,500 years old.
We discovered viruses that exclusively infected amoebae and were harmless to humans. However, some viruses frozen in the permafrost may still infect people. “We found genomic traces of poxviruses and herpesviruses, well-known human pathogens,” Claverie added.