March 13, 2023 | 10:42 PM
A new study by an international group of climate scientists shows that so-called ‘zombie viruses’ can infect amoeba cells when they return.
Research published in open journal virusexamined over a dozen new viruses isolated from seven ancient Siberian permafrost samples.
Building on previous research from the last decade, research has shown that viruses (sometimes tens of thousands of years old) can be infectious when resurrected.
Researchers from France, Russia and Germany found that the virus was dormant for 27,000 to 48,500 years through radiocarbon dating of permafrost.
Permafrost is a layer of frozen soil that is widespread on land and on the ocean floor, especially in the following areas: Temperatures rarely exceed freezing. It is estimated that about a quarter of the Northern Hemisphere is covered by permafrost.
Studies have shown that permafrost is an excellent preservative. However, scientists worry that as the earth gradually warms and the permafrost melts, viruses that can infect humans will emerge.
“This rapid permafrost thaw causes the mobilization of ancient organic matter that has been preserved for thousands of years in deep layers of permafrost. It’s most noticeable in Siberia, where there are , ”the researchers point out.
Another consequence of permafrost thawing is the release of frozen organic matter for up to one million years, most of which breaks down into carbon dioxide and methane, further increasing the impact of greenhouse gases, the researchers add.