It reads like the opening scene of an apocalyptic movie: “French scientists discover ancient virus in the frozen Siberian tundra, attempt to revive it.” Unfortunately, it’s actually happening in real life.
Yes, researchers from the University of Aix-Marseille’s National Center of Scientific Research have uncovered a giant amoeba-killing virus called Mollivirus sibericum on a 30,000-year-old piece of permafrost in Russia. Now that’s scary, but it gets worse. They’re trying to bring the frozen virus back to life–and so far it’s been working.
You’re probably thinking that’s a bad idea, but hear the scientists out. First, they want you to know that they actually found four giant prehistoric viruses. Uh-oh… Second, the scientists only tried to revive them to see if the viruses were a threat. And lastly, they were only able to jolt two of the four awake. Thankfully, both are benign, but there’s a not-so-small catch.
“The fact that two different viruses could be easily revived from prehistoric permafrost should be of concern in a context of global warming,” the study says.
So, basically the scientists are saying that due to the unusually warmer temperatures and recent human activity in Russia’s tundra, more deadly viruses (than the ones found) could resurface and, you know, wreak havoc on mankind. Ah, just your usual, terrifying end-of-the-world stuff, right? Apparently not so.
The American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) aren’t that concerned about this alarming trend, according to Mic. But, the CDC says they will “monitor emerging and re-emerging diseases globally.” How comforting.