Permafrost could release ‘zombie viruses’, triggering a catastrophic global health emergency, scientists have warned of the dangers posed by viruses buried under layers of ice in the Arctic. The urgency of the threat has increased due to rising temperatures as frozen ice is melting faster as a result of global warming. Experts said a scientist found some of the gvich in samples taken from Siberian permafrost last year.
Jean-Michel Claverie, a geneticist at Aix-Marseille University, told the Guardian: “At the moment, analysis of pandemic risks focuses on diseases that could emerge in southern regions and then spread to the north. In contrast, on emerging outbreaks “Very little attention has been paid. Whereas there is a misconception about the far north and then the south that this is where they can spread. There are viruses there that have the potential to infect humans and start a new disease outbreak.”
Genomic marker identified
“The viruses we isolated were only capable of infecting amoebae and posed no threat to humans. However, this does not mean that other viruses – which are currently frozen in permafrost – will cause diseases in humans. “We have identified genomic markers for, for example, poxviruses and herpesviruses, which are well-known human pathogens.”
Claverie said, “The threat could come from the effects of another global warming. The disappearance of Arctic sea ice is leading to increased shipping, traffic and industrial development in Siberia. Huge mining operations are being planned, and oil And huge holes are being drilled into the deep permafrost to extract ores. Those operations will release large quantities of these viruses which are still thriving there 48,500 years later. Miners will come in and inhale the viruses, which has adverse effects. Can be devastating.
Inactive viruses can become active
Scientists have warned of the deadly threat to humans posed by dormant viruses lying beneath ice caps in the Arctic and other regions. Melting Arctic ‘permafrost’ could spread ‘zombie virus’, potentially causing global health crisis. According to a report by The Guardian, this risk has arisen due to rising temperatures due to global warming.
Further investigation over the next year identified virus strains in various Siberian locations, revealing their ability to infect cells. Claverie clarified that the isolated virus poses no threat to humans, but pointed to the presence of genomic traces of poxviruses and herpesviruses, which are well-known human pathogens.
Scientists have warned
Scientists cited the examples of Nipah virus and monkeypox to suggest that heavy land use could lead to the resurgence of these ancient viruses, which were caused by the transfer of pathogens to humans due to land use. Scientists warn that potentially devastating effects could be triggered if miners breathe in these viruses, increasing the global health risk. One virus sample was 48,500 years old.
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