Researchers from the French National Centre for Scientific Research have revived over two dozen ‘zombie viruses’, including a 48,500 years old virus trapped in ice, according to a ‘yet-to-be peer-reviewed’ study published on bioRxiv.
The samples were collected from permafrost in the Siberia region of Russia.
Scientists have found that these viruses remain infectious despite being dormant for hundreds of millennia.
According to European researchers, “It is thus likely that ancient permafrost will release these unknown viruses upon thawing.
“How long these viruses could remain infectious once exposed to outdoor conditions, and how likely they will be to encounter and infect a suitable host in the interval, is yet impossible to estimate.”
“But the risk is bound to increase in the context of global warming when permafrost thawing will keep accelerating, and more people will be populating the Arctic in the wake of industrial ventures,” they added.
As soon as the news about ‘Zombie viruses’ came out, many took to Twitter to share their reactions. Some even joked about the existence of Zombie viruses.