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Researchers are concerned about viruses in the ice

Researchers are concerned about viruses in the ice

The boreal conifer forest is a permafrost zone

© APA/AFP/Olivier Morin / Olivier Morin

Earth’s temperature is rising due to human activities Climate change, It also affects Permafrost soil on me. In addition to environmental changes, soil instability, or the release of greenhouse gases stored in the permafrost, such as carbon dioxide and methane, this may have other unpleasant consequences: so far Unknown virusesWhich has been stuck in ice for thousands of years.

“There’s an X factor that we don’t really know a lot about,” he said. Birgitta EvengardInfectious disease specialist at Umeå University, opposite Newsweek. in the year 2014 A group of French and Russian researchers reactivated the… For 30,000 years They were frozen in Siberian permafrost. Now the “Pandora virus” infects the amoeba.

According to the author of the study, if such viruses can survive in permafrost for a long time, this is a sign Jean-Michel Claverie He points out that viruses also come from animals and humans It remains contagious could. We also know that DNA from humans and animals remains frozen in permafrost. Other research has shown this as well Microscopic animals It can be revived from permafrost.

➤ Read more: Researchers have discovered ‘zombie viruses’ in Siberian ice

What could be in the ice?

Claverie told Newsweek that viruses from extinct diseases such as smallpox could be hiding deep in the ice. Other risks include: Anthrax (anthrax)Or serious bacterial infection Tularemiaor even Tick-borne illnesses, Claverie said.

Something like this has already happened. 2016 He died in one Anthrax outbreak In northern Siberia, a 12-year-old boy and thousands of animals. The reason is said to be the warm weather in the area. This caused the permafrost to melt, resulting in the carcass of a reindeer that died from the infection. “Anthrax has a very thick cell wall, so it can sleep for hundreds of years and then come back to life,” Evengard said.

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Hazards in deep layers of ice

Such viruses can be found primarily in upper classes Permafrost occurs. But what lies deeper is more troubling. “Deep in the permafrost, there must be microbes — especially viruses, but also bacteria — that existed on Earth long before Homo sapiens existed,” Evengard said.

Unlike other viruses,… Human body I haven’t had a chance to adapt to it yet. In the worst-case scenario, there may be ancient viruses in the permafrost to which we have no natural immunity, vaccines or treatments. This is precisely the worrying “X-Factor”.