(TheLibertyRevolution.com)- In an article posted to the preprint repository bioTxiv, a group of French, Russian, and German researchers claim to have revived and uncovered 13 new “zombie viruses” isolated from seven different samples of ancient Siberian permafrost, including an amoeba virus that had been frozen underwater for 48,500 years.
The team’s lead researcher, microbiologist Jean-Marie Alempic of the French National Center for Scientific Research, said reanimating the viruses could potentially help inform public health as studying them will help scientists to assess the danger these ancient viruses might bring if they ever awake from their icy tombs.
According to the paper, about one-quarter of the Northern Hemisphere is currently under permafrost. But if Climate Change ever caused that permanently frozen ground to thaw, it could release the organic matter that had been frozen for up to a million years, adding carbon into the atmosphere and likely releasing long-frozen viruses.
In their paper, the researchers suggest that the biological hazard from reviving the amoeba-infecting viruses is “totally negligible” compared to searching for “paleoviruses” directly from the permafrost-preserved remains of prehistoric creatures like the wooly mammoth.
The scientists believe the results from their viruses “can be extrapolated to many other DNA viruses capable of infecting humans or animals” without having to embark on the riskier project of extracting viruses from the remains of prehistoric creatures.
Nine of the 13 zombie viruses found are believed to be tens of thousands of years old and the researchers identified each of them based on its genome. According to scientists, the viruses still have the potential to be infectious, even after all this time.
However, how long these “zombie viruses” would remain infectious is not clear.
According to the paper, how long these “zombie viruses” remain infectious would depend on how they react to being exposed to ultraviolet light, oxygen, and heat after being frozen for tens of thousands of years.