News JVTech A prehistoric virus caught in the ice released: should we panic?
Published on 02/12/2022 at 19:15
Many negative things stem from global warming. Here is one that you may have heard of before, but which has just been confirmed. A millennial virus rises from the past to haunt 2022.
Permafrost, an eternal barrier that is weakening
Permafrost is an important layer of ice, but above all permanent. It covers many parts of the world, notably in Canada, but also in Alaska and Siberia, without forgetting the Arctic. These regions are famous for their frigid climate with temperatures constantly below zero degrees.
Like eternal snow, nothing can melt this permafrost. Nothing, except global warming. Whatever the few skeptics say, it is unfortunately a very real phenomenon, and the impact of Man on the planet is causing all sorts of obvious disasters such as increasing droughts, and other slower ones such as melting ice.
This melting even comes to disturb this famous permafrost, which how badly bear its name. And as you can imagine, this does not bode well because it contains several harmful elements, starting with greenhouse gas. Indeed, the frozen ground harbors an astronomical quantity of carbon which, if released into the atmosphere, would worsen the situation. A real vicious circle.
But that’s not all. Ice is excellent fossilization, and viruses from another time could be released from the dead, zombie-like.
A study to judge the dangers of a zombie virus
Permafrost has been unshakable for tens of thousands of years, meaning that elements have been frozen in ice all this time. What for example ? The virus, among others, which no longer exist in our daily lives, but which still sleep under tons and tons of frozen water.
A new study conducted by CNRS researchers has just been published, and it does not bode well. Well, not exactly. The group of scientists went to the permafrost to analyze 13 viruses stuck in the ice. While these microbes are retained, the majority of them are no longer infectious, except for one which would have kept its potentially harmful properties, even 48,500 years later.
In a way, the study is reassuring because the virus in question would have a good chance of being easily countered by the treatments we have today. It might also lose its infectious properties after some time in contact with the outside world. On the other hand, even a harmless virus can still drift onto other illnesses unprecedented events that could have a real impact, such as Covid-19 in 2020.
CNRS scientists point out that even if these viruses do not present a direct risk, the acceleration of global warming can only make things worse and release other more dangerous viruses.