“The potentially bad news: the reemergence of other viruses “is no longer the domain of science fiction,”
Scientists have unearthed a giant virus more than 30,000 years old from the frozen soil in a remote region of Siberia.
While this ancient virus is harmless to people, the scientists behind the discovery warn that the discovery suggests that the thawing of permafrost in polar regions, as a result of either climate change or mining, could bring threats to human health.
The ancient virus, named Pithovirus sibericum, infects amoebas, not humans or animals.
It survived in the Siberian ice from a period when woolly mammoths and saber-tooth cats roamed the earth.
The scientists found it in the Chukotka Autonomous Region, the most northeasterly region of Russia, which lies across the Bering Strait from Alaska.
Its discovery was reported by the researchers, from French and Russian institutions, in an article published this week by the U.S. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The discovery of Pithovirus “shows how incomplete our understanding of microscopic biodiversity is when it comes to exploring new environments,” France’s National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) said.
And the potentially bad news: the reemergence of other viruses “is no longer the domain of science fiction,” the center said.
The Latest on: Remergence of viruses
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The Latest on: Reemergence of viruses
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- Poliovirus detected in 26 of 142 tested environmental samples – DOHon November 27, 2019 at 3:05 am
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- How could a disease that was once on the decline might re-emerge?on November 7, 2019 at 11:05 pm
Another factor that plays a role in reemergence is the creation of new strands. The virus might have mutated and start infecting people. Vaccinations are very important at keeping diseases at bay.
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