Ancient Zombie Virus Set To Unleash A New Pandemic
Scientists are raising concerns over a newly discovered zombie virus found frozen in the Arctic permafrost.
According to scientists, the ancient viruses frozen in the Arctic permafrost could one day unleash a major disease outbreak. Experts have started planning an Arctic monitoring network that would help identify cases of diseases caused by the ancient microorganisms early on before their spread goes out of control.
— New York Post (@nypost) January 21, 2024
The network would also provide quarantine facilities and medical services for those infected to help reduce a potential outbreak, including preventing contagious patients from leaving the region.
Geneticist Jean-Michel Claverie of Aix-Marseille University released a statement saying that these viruses can potentially infect humans.
“At the moment, analyses of pandemic threats focus on diseases that might emerge in southern regions and then spread north,” Claverie said. “By contrast, little attention has been given to an outbreak that might emerge in the far north and then travel south – and that is an oversight, I believe. There are viruses up there that have the potential to infect humans and start a new disease outbreak.”
Virologist Marion Koopmans of the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam backed this statement.
“We don’t know what viruses are lying out there in the permafrost,” Koopmams said. “But I think there is a real risk that there might be one capable of triggering a disease outbreak – say of an ancient form of polio. We have to assume that something like this could happen.”
According to the New York Post, Zombie viruses can stay alive for thousands of years in the frozen soil.
“The crucial part about permafrost is that it is cold, dark, and lacks oxygen, which is perfect for preserving biological material,” Claverie said. “You could put yogurt in permafrost and it might still be edible 50,000 years later.”
Scientists believe that permafrost, at its deepest levels, may contain viruses up to a million years old and will be far older than our species, which is thought to have emerged about 300,000 years ago.
“Our immune systems may have never been in contact with some of those microbes, and that is another worry,” Claverie said. “The scenario of an unknown virus once infecting a Neanderthal coming back at us, although unlikely, has become a real possibility.