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

Tuesday, 04 Mar 2014 09:24 AM

By Courtney Coren

  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
|  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.

  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  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
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

Derek Jeter Launches site to Connect Athletes to Fans

Wednesday, 01 Oct 2014 08:18 AM

Derek Jeter was one of the world's most covered athletes in media during his 20-season career with the New York Yankees. . . .

600-Year-Old Canoe Found in New Zealand Has Ties to Polynesian Sailors

Wednesday, 01 Oct 2014 07:16 AM

A 600-year-old canoe discovered in New Zealand has given scientists and historians new insight into the people of the So . . .

Microsoft Announces Windows 10, Skips 9 as a 'Marketing Gimmick'

Wednesday, 01 Oct 2014 07:06 AM

Microsoft announced Windows 10 this week, surprising consumers who anticipated that version 9 would naturally follow 201 . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

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