Did You Hear About the Giant Virus That Came Alive After Being Frozen for 30,000 Years??

March 4, 2014 at 5:51 PM Leave a comment

I think of viruses, individually anyway, as fairly delicate things.  Not this guy (and there may be more where he came from):

Giant Virus Alive After 30,000 years via Discover Magazine

(Image Julia Bartoli & Chantal Abergel, IGS, CNRS/AMU via DiscoverMagazine.com)

Scientists in France have awoken a gigantic, ancient virus from its 30,000-year-long slumber in Siberian permafrost — and found that it’s ready to infect again.


“The revival of such an ancestral amoeba-infecting virus … suggests that the thawing of permafrost either from global warming or industrial exploitation of circumpolar regions might not be exempt from future threats to human or animal health,” scientists wrote in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Evolutionary biologists Jean-Michel Claverie and Chantal Abergel discovered Pithovirus sibericum under 100 feet of coastal tundra in the far northeast of Russia.


Pithovirus is the oldest virus to ever awaken from dormancy and remain infectious. It measures 1.5 micrometers long, about the size of a bacterium, making it the largest in a class of giant viruses that was discovered 10 years ago.


If a 30,000-year-old virus can maintain its infectious abilities, Clevarie wonders if other microbes are capable of revisiting humanity in devastating fashion.


Ten, 20, 30 years from now, when today’s little kids are entering the prime of their lives and climate change is out of control, life’s going to be a thrill a minute.


Entry filed under: The Environment, Weather, Etc..

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