Virologists reanimate seven ancient viruses from Siberian permafrost

(ORDO NEWS) — Virologists at the University of Aix-Marseille in France have resuscitated seven ancient viruses in the laboratory, extracted from the permafrost in Siberia.

The youngest of these viruses was frozen for 27,000 years, and the oldest was in ice for 48,500 years, making it the oldest reanimated virus to date.

According to scientists, modern climate warming is causing glaciers and permafrost to melt. This can release dangerous and ancient viruses unknown to science, against which humans have no immunity.

Therefore, it is important to study these viruses proactively in order to prepare for their likely outbreaks in the future.

In their work, scientists first took samples of permafrost in several places in Siberia: near the mouth of the Lena River, in the Yakutsk region and in Kamchatka.

Then, in the laboratory, scientists found seven viruses in these samples and cultivated them for further study and sequencing of the viral genome.

Most (4 out of 7) viruses belong to the Pandoraviridae family and have not been previously discovered.

The remaining three viruses belong to the Mimiviridae and Pithoviridae families. All of these viruses infect amoebas and are the largest of all viruses.

All of these viruses can remain contagious even after prolonged exposure to permafrost. In the future, scientists will continue their research.

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