This information was reported in The Guardian, reports URA-Inform.
The article warns of the possible release of ancient viruses dormant in the Arctic permafrost due to climate change, which could cause a large-scale spread of disease.
Marion Koopmans, virologist from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, expresses concerns:
«We don't know what viruses lie in the permafrost, but I think there is a real risk that one of them could cause an outbreak, e.g. , an ancient form of polio. We need to be aware that this could happen.»
Geneticist Jean-Michel Claverie from the University of Marseille confirms that «frozen» viruses can pose a threat to humanity. His experiments in 2014 with viruses from Siberian permafrost showed that they were capable of infecting single-celled protozoa. One such virus is estimated to have been around for 48,500 years.
Even though this particular virus cannot infect humans, Claverie stresses that «this does not mean that other viruses , now frozen in permafrost, cannot cause disease in humans.
A fifth of the planet is covered in permafrost, and it is believed to be melting due to global warming, increasing the risks of «awakening« #187; ancient viruses that were long forgotten by humanity.
Scientists are beginning to develop an Arctic monitoring system designed to detect the first cases of diseases caused by ancient microorganisms. Claverie warns that global warming could trigger the flourishing of Siberia, but with the risks of «releasing a large number of pathogens».
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