Tuesday, April 23, 2024
Contact    |    RSS icon Twitter icon Facebook icon  
Unexplained Mysteries
You are viewing: Home > News > Science & Technology > News story
Welcome Guest ( Login or Register )  
All ▾
Search Submit

Science & Technology

'Frankenvirus' found in Siberian permafrost

By T.K. Randall
September 9, 2015 · Comment icon 13 comments

Could dormant viruses be released from the permafrost ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.5 Hannes Grobe
A giant virus discovered frozen beneath the tundra has been revived after more than 30,000 years.
While the long-dormant virus, Mollivirus sibericum, is not thought to be harmful to humans, the fact that it had survived for such a long time in the permafrost suggests that there could be many more long-forgotten viruses lying in wait beneath the frozen tundra that we still don't know about.

"Our finding suggests that prehistory 'live' viruses are not a rare occurrence," the researchers wrote.

"We cannot rule out that distant viruses of ancient Siberian human populations could re-emerge as Arctic permafrost layers melt and/or are disrupted by industrial activities."
While not an immediate concern, the possibility of a prehistoric virus reawakening and infecting the modern population is something that may soon need to be taken a lot more seriously.

"Some viral particles which are still infectious can, in the presence of a receptive host, [lead to] the resurgence of potentially pathogenic viruses in Arctic regions," said Professor Jean-Michel Claverie.

"If we are not careful, and we industrialise these areas without putting safeguards in place, we run the risk of one day waking up viruses such as smallpox that we thought were eradicated."

Source: Sydney Morning Herald | Comments (13)

Other news and articles
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #4 Posted by paperdyer 9 years ago
Climate is cyclical, there were once ice sheets covering half of the United States; they carved out the Great Lakes. The ice has been retreating for 10,000 years, and most of that time there was no industry, or even large human populations. I would suspect that before the ice age began there was little or no permafrost in the areas where it is now melting. Remember also, scientists claimed we were in a new ice age in the 60's as the glaciers were advancing.
Comment icon #5 Posted by BeastieRunner 9 years ago
Well, we're already in the midst of the Sixth Great Mass Extinction, might as well go out with a bang!
Comment icon #6 Posted by Taun 9 years ago
Is this the same labratory that had deadly Anthrax cultures laying around in the hallways?... I'm all for this... I mean... What could possibly go wrong?...
Comment icon #7 Posted by Sweetpumper 9 years ago
The Last Ship.
Comment icon #8 Posted by jarjarbinks 9 years ago
So terrorists just have to bring a couple of heater there and boil that sh#t
Comment icon #9 Posted by Father Merrin 9 years ago
Dinosaurs took longer dumps than the time we have walked the earth! And they met their demise eventually, as will we! But it wont be at the hands of a resurrected virus! We are too smart for that now
Comment icon #10 Posted by GreenmansGod 9 years ago
We're all going to die....
Comment icon #11 Posted by mskate 9 years ago
not the plague again!
Comment icon #12 Posted by S I N 9 years ago
It is the cure for the common cold !
Comment icon #13 Posted by Sundew 9 years ago
Is this the same labratory that had deadly Anthrax cultures laying around in the hallways?... I'm all for this... I mean... What could possibly go wrong?... Well (in this case at least) your worries are probably unfounded, because I believe most of these giant viruses prey on bacteria and protozoa. But yes, a bit of quality control at that lab couldn't hurt!

Please Login or Register to post a comment.

Our new book is out now!
Book cover

The Unexplained Mysteries
Book of Weird News


Take a walk on the weird side with this compilation of some of the weirdest stories ever to grace the pages of a newspaper.

Click here to learn more

We need your help!
Patreon logo

Support us on Patreon


For less than the cost of a cup of coffee, you can gain access to a wide range of exclusive perks including our popular 'Lost Ghost Stories' series.

Click here to learn more

Recent news and articles