What is the Zombie Virus discovered by scientists in Russia? Does it pose a serious threat to humanity? Let’s read about the nearly 50,000 year old virus.

Viral Tegument
Representative Image of a Virus cell

Following the revival of a 48,500-year-old zombie virus hidden beneath a frozen lake in Russia, French scientists issued a warning about the beginning of a new outbreak.

The viral report, which was referenced in the study, was not yet peer-reviewed when it was published in the New York Post. Microbiologist Jean-Marie Alempic of the French National Centre for Scientific Research led the latest investigation.

A number of glaciers and permafrost have been melting rapidly, releasing bacteria and viruses that have been trapped on ice for years as the issue of global warming becomes the primary topic of concern for the future. The zombie virus is an example of an amoeba virus that researchers were able to resurrect from melted ice.

One of the 13 viruses described in the study, each of which has its own genome, is the new strain, according to Science Alert.

The oldest, named Pandoravirus yedoma after the mythological figure Pandora, was 48,500 years old, which is a record for a virus that has been frozen before thawing and resuming its infectious ability.

This has surpassed the previous record held by a virus that was identified by the same scientists in 2013 which was 30,000 years old.

Zombie viruses have been dormant for many years due to being trapped inside the ice and have come to life after the ice melted. 

“It is therefore legitimate to ponder the risk of ancient viral particles remaining infectious and getting back into circulation by the thawing of ancient permafrost layers,” the scientists write.

Is The Zombie Virus Perhaps Dangerous?

After studying the live cultures, researchers found that all “zombie viruses” have the potential to be contagious and hence represent a “health concern.”

According to the New York Post, experts predict that when permafrost melts, long-dormant viruses may emerge increasing the frequency of pandemics like Covid-19.

The organic material released by the thawing ice breaks down into carbon dioxide and methane, intensifying the greenhouse impact and hastening the melt. Sadly, this creates a vicious cycle.

However, scientists think that the recently discovered virus is only the tip of the iceberg and that there are still further viruses that need to be studied and researched.

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