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Resurrected zombie viruses lingering for millennia in the permafrost


13 'zombie' viruses that were trapped for millennia in Siberia's permafrost have been rescued: they are still capable of infecting (ANSA)

13 'zombie' viruses that had been trapped for millennia in the permafrost of Siberia have succeeded: the oldest dates back to almost 50,000 years ago and, like the others, has shown that it is still able to infect the cells with which it was put into laboratory contact.

This is demonstrated by the experiments conducted by an international team led by microbiologist Jean-Marie Alempic of the French National Center for Scientific Research (Cnrs).

The results are published on the bioRxiv website, where articles not yet reviewed by the scientific community are shared, and demonstrate how the melting of ice due to global warming could awaken unknown and potentially dangerous microorganisms.

The viruses re-emerged from Siberia have a different genome than other currently known viruses.

Nine of them would be tens of thousands of years old: the oldest, dating back to 48,500 years ago, is a giant virus that infects single-celled organisms known as amoebas and has been called Pandoravirus yedoma.

The researchers found it buried under a lake, while the other viruses were extracted from other sources, including the fur of a mammoth and the intestines of a Siberian wolf, all buried under the permafrost.

Brought to the laboratory and brought into contact with amoeba cells, the viruses have shown that they are still capable of infecting them.

The scholars therefore conclude that it is "legitimate to reflect on the risk that ancient viral particles remain infectious and return to circulation due to the melting of ancient layers of permafrost".

Source: ansa

All tech articles on 2022-11-28

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