30,000 Year Old Dormant Monster Virus is Still Ticking

By: | September 29th, 2015

Another big problem due to global warming is that ancient viruses, which were perfectly preserved in the frozen wastelands, may come back to life. Scientists fear that with the rise in global temperature, ice will melt, and mining and drilling will most probably penetrate previously inaccessible areas.

Scientists have discovered one such monster virus, called Mollivirus sibericum, deep in the Siberian permafrost, that has laid dormant for 30,000 years. This giant virus is not the first to be discovered; three more prehistoric viruses have been found since 2003.

Thawing Ice Could Bring Similar Pathogens Back to Life

Scientists fear that bodies infected with diseases like smallpox, which are currently defrosting in Siberia, may begin a cycle of infection when they are exposed due to the melting of frost. If we keep on industrializing these areas, we may one day rouse viruses like smallpox that we thought were eradicated.

The discoveries of these giant viruses are highly dangerous because they can remain infectious for thousands of years. Concerns have been raised for many years, but this latest discovery is a warning that added dangers are close to returning.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. You can also find Nidhi on Google+.

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