The discovery of a 30,000 year old virus found frozen in Siberia, Russia is the 4th prehistoric virus to be discovered since 2003.
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Ice melt from rising global temperatures isn’t just revealing long-frozen artifacts; it’s also exposing ancient viruses.
A recent study describes the discovery of a 30,000-year old virus found in frozen Siberia, the 4th prehistoric one known to have surfaced since 2003. This bug is much bigger and more complex than the ones of today.
It’s classified as a giant because, at 0.6 microns long, it exceeds the half micron minimum standard; it is also composed of more than 500 genes compared to influenza A which has 8.
The virus is still dormant, but there are plans to revive it with an amoeba host after it has been determined to be safe to humans and animals.
Scientists believe this kind of work can help them piece together the way viruses evolved over time.
While strict safety measures are being taken in the lab, there are concerns that oil and mineral extraction efforts in Siberian regions could possibly awaken other dormant diseases.
One of the other 3 prehistoric viruses found in the past was still infectious, despite it being dormant for tens of thousands of years.
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