Ready for your daily dose of sack-shrinking fear-mongering from a reliable news source? Look no further. Pop Smoke Media has you covered. Today’s topic: “zombie viruses.”
Thirteen new (actually, ancient) viruses were unearthed from the Siberian permafrost, due to its rapid melt-rate. They’re being referred to as “zombie viruses” because they’ve been resurrected thousands of years later. Pardon the misnomer, but these viruses won’t give you a sudden craving for brains.
However scientists warn that the more the permafrost melts, the more pathogens can and will be released into water sources. The risk factors might be nominal; however, they still require careful consideration and a modicum of preparation. Notably, the findings have not been peer-reviewed, but you can read them here.
World record “zombie viruses”
One out of the thirteen that were recently found, one was at least 48,500 years old (Pandoravirus Yedoma). That’s a world record, according to Jean-Michel Claverie, co-author and a professor of genomics and bioinformatics at Aix-Marseille University’s School of Medicine, told New Scientist.
Three of the viruses were collected from 27,000-year-old samples of Mammoth fecal matter and fur.
“At the same time, two other viruses were separately isolated from the stomach of a Siberian wolf (Canis lupus). They have been aptly named Pacmanvirus lupus and Pandoravirus lupus,” as per IFLScience.
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“One-quarter of the Northern Hemisphere is underlain by permanently frozen ground, referred to as permafrost,” researchers wrote in the paper. “Due to climate warming, irreversibly thawing permafrost is releasing organic matter frozen for up to a million years, most of which decomposes into carbon dioxide and methane, further enhancing the greenhouse effect.” Per the International Business Times.
(Hey guys, maybe we stop actively COLLECTING the ancient, assumingly haunted, viruses? Or not. Let’s go find a cursed sarcophagus to open after, yeah?)
Don’t break into your zombie-readiness food and gear just yet. Although each new pathogen does require some sort of medical response, such as antivirals or vaccines, it seems unlikely that it poses a huge threat to humanity…