Researchers are warning that the risk of deadly pathogens are ‘bound to increase’ as permafrost thawing accelerates due to global warming.
They say that six Zombie viruses have already turned up in mammoth wool, Siberian mummies, prehistoric wolves, and even in the lungs of an Influenza victim buried in Alaska’s permafrost.
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But worse…..there are more yet to come apparently.
The Mail Online reports: An international team of researchers from institutions in Russia, Germany and France warns that ‘the risk of ancient viral particles remaining infectious’ has been underestimated.
Worse, these scientists now believe that ‘the risk is bound to increase in the context of global warming, in which permafrost thawing will keep accelerating,’ unleashing some diseases that had been trapped in the ice since prehistoric times.
The team — which includes experts in genomics, microbiology and geoscience, some of whom have been tracking these resurrected ‘zombie’ viruses for nearly a decade — published their findings in the journal Viruses last February.
Below are six long-frozen microbes that scientists have unearthed from the permafrost’s quickly melting fossil record.
In the late 1990s, Swedish pathologist Dr. Johan V. Hultin found a cache of 1918 Influenza virus RNA in the lungs of a woman slain by the virus nearly 80 years prior.
Dr. Hultin had been searching intentionally for Influenza samples that could help medical researchers better understand how to fight future pandemics.
But his discovery was an early indication of just how easily deadly viruses could be preserved in arctic permafrost.
Hultin, in collaboration with the US Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, exhumed the body of a large Inuit woman buried in a mass grave of Influenza victims near a remote village outside the town of Brevig Mission, Alaska.
Thanks to the permafrost, enough RNA from the Influenza virus was so well preserved that the researchers could sequence the entire 1918 strain’s genome.
But the discover was both a victory for medical researchers and dark omen of what other diseases might be frozen in time under the ice.
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