First, scientists revived the deadly “Spanish flu” virus. Now, they attempt to resurrect a 30,000-year-old virus that has been lying dormant in the Siberian permafrost.
French researchers from the French National Research Center who discovered the virus stated that they are planning to reanimate it in order to learn more about it and determine whether it is pathogenic to humans or animals.
Known as the Mollivirus sibericum, it is a giant virus (0.6 microns long) with more than 500 genes.
The area where the prehistoric virus was found is known for its rich mineral resources. Access to places such as the Siberian wastelands is slowly increasing, due to the continuous melting of the layers of ice covering the areas.
The area where the prehistoric virus was found is known for its rich mineral resources.
However, there is a caveat – climate change and the continuous melting of permafrost can result in the resurrection of other dangerous pathogens, such as the smallpox virus.
If we are not careful, and we industrialize these areas without putting safeguards in place, we run the risk of one day waking up viruses such as small pox that we thought were eradicated,” said Jean-Michel Claverie, one of the lead researchers.
This is the fourth virus of its kind discovered since 2003 – the Minivirus was found in 2003, the Pandoravirus in 2013, and the Pithovirus sibericum last 2014.
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