30,000-year-old virus found in melting ice becomes active again

Professor Jean-Michel Claverie, from the National Centre of Scientific Research (CNRS) at the University of Aix-Marseille in France, said "this is the first time we've seen a virus that's still infectious after this length of time."

30,000-year-old virus found in melting ice becomes active again

World Bulletin / News Desk

Melting snow and ice in Siberia has unleashed a 30,000-year-old virus, which lay buried and inactive, frozen in a 30 meter deep layer of permafrost.

Scientists who uncovered the virus brought it back to life after 30,000 years, and witnessed it attacking single-cell organisms like amoebas, according to a study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Professor Jean-Michel Claverie, from the National Centre of Scientific Research (CNRS) at the University of Aix-Marseille in France, said "this is the first time we've seen a virus that's still infectious after this length of time."

The virus poses no threat to humans and animals, but scientists fear that more aggressive viruses like smallpox may also be lying deep in the Siberian permafrost that could also be revived if the ice continues to melt.

"By going deeper we may reactivate the possibility that smallpox could become again a disease of humans in modern times," the scientist told the BBC. 

Last Mod: 04 Mart 2014, 11:52
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