French Scientist Resurrects 30,000-Year-Old Giant Virus

Tuesday, 04 Mar 2014 09:24 AM

By Courtney Coren

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
A 30,000-year-old giant single-celled virus was brought back to life after being preserved in the Siberian permafrost.

While not harmful to humans, it raises the question for scientists whether other ancient or eradicated viruses could be released if the climate warms, Live Science reported.

"There is now a non-zero probability that the pathogenic microbes that bothered [ancient human populations] could be revived, and most likely infect us, as well," Jean-Michel Claverie, bioinformatics researcher at Aix-Marseille University in France, wrote in an email.

A "non-zero probability" means that it's not impossible.

"Those pathogens could be banal bacteria (curable with antibiotics) or resistant bacteria or nasty viruses," Claverie added. "If they have been extinct for a long time, then our immune system is no longer prepared to respond to them. If viable virions are still there, this is a good recipe for disaster."

This is not the first mysterious giant virus found by Claverie and his team, but not everyone is as worried as the French scientist of what this could mean for humans if more complex viruses are resurrected.

According to Live Science, giant viruses "are as big as bacteria but lack characteristic cellular machinery and metabolism of those microorganisms."

"We are inundated by millions of viruses as we move through our everyday life," said Curtis Suttle, a marine virologist at the University of British Columbia in Canada, who was not a researcher in the study.

"Every time we swim in the sea, we swallow about a billion viruses and inhale many thousands every day," Suttle explained. "It is true that virus will be archived in permafrost and glacial ice, but the probability that viral pathogens of humans are abundant enough, and would circulate extensively enough to affect human health, stretches scientific rationality to the breaking point."

Claverie's research was published in the March 3 edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Related Stories:

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Giant Sunspot Has Scientists Scratching Their Heads

Thursday, 30 Oct 2014 06:47 AM

A colossal sunspot - at 80,000 miles wide, the largest seen in about a quarter of a century - is acting peculiarly, prod . . .

Group Says Piece of Metal Found on Island Is From Earhart's Plane

Wednesday, 29 Oct 2014 23:23 PM

Researchers probing the 1937 disappearance of famed American aviator Amelia Earhart's plane said on Wednesday they now b . . .

Retailers' Deal With Rival System Blocks Apple Pay

Wednesday, 29 Oct 2014 14:28 PM

A coalition of retailers is refusing to accept Apple's new mobile wallet because of agreements they have already signed  . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved