The ‘zombie virus’, a virus frozen from the remains of woolly mammoths and other prehistoric animals, is feared by other scientists could leak from a Russian laboratory.
A looming threat, comparatively compared to scenes like in movies about plagues and pandemics that involve potential outbreaks of viruses that humans and animals in modern times have never encountered before.
Quoted from Nature World NewsTuesday (31/1/2023) the discovery of this frozen ancient virus appeared in 2022, but still attracts attention today.
Zombie Virus Outbreak
In 2022, a potential revival of the zombie virus from the deep permafrost in Siberia emerges between late November and early December.
This discovery prompted Russian scientists to dig up the bodies of long-dead mammals to revive the zombie virus or stone age virus.
Some of these animal carcasses include woolly mammoths or prehistoric elephants from Siberia, Russia, which died around 10,000 years ago.
However, reports say a scientific team has revived a Siberian zombie virus that has been frozen at the bottom of a lake for nearly 50,000 years.
According to The Washington Post, the findings about the virus are the result of a collective discovery by a team of European researchers from France, Germany, and Russia, who have found a total of 13 previously unknown or never-seen pathogens trapped in the frozen ground of the Siberian region.
Scientists estimate that one of these viruses has been lying under lakes for more than 48,500 years, and they highlight the new potential danger of releasing these viruses as permafrost melts as Earth warms. This prompted researchers to call the frozen pathogen a ‘zombie virus’.
A laboratory in Russia called Vector, is researching this virus with the goal of understanding how it evolves. The research was conducted by the Russian Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology. Meanwhile, another group of scientists expressed their concern over Russia’s high-risk endeavor.
British media Express Newspaper reported that the project is overseen at a former bioweapons laboratory in Russia’s Novosibirsk region. However Vector hosts 59 maximum safety biolabs worldwide.
Professor Jean-Michel Claverie from the National Center for Scientific Research at Aix-Marseille University also expressed concern. He highlighted that the Russian laboratory research was very high risk.
Claverie emphasized that our immune system has never encountered this type of virus, and some pathogens may be around 200,000 or even 400,000 years old.
This means immune cells may not have a clue about how to fight this ancient virus if humans or animals are infected.
In 2019, the World Health Organization conducted an inspection of the Vector facility and found no significant concern even for traces of the facility having had incidents in the past.
In addition to mammoths, scientists in Vector’s lab are also analyzing the remains of woolly rhinos and other Ice Age animals to revive the prehistoric virus.
Watch Video “Zombie Attack!“