Scientists Concerned: Deadly New Pandemic Could Be Unleashed From an Ancient Zombie Virus Trapped in Arctic Ice

Scientists warn that the thawing Arctic permafrost poses a genuine threat, potentially releasing ancient viruses, known as Methuselah microbes or zombie viruses, which could lead to a global health crisis.

“We now face a tangible threat and we need to be prepared to deal with it. It is as simple as that,” geneticist Jean-Michel Claverie, professor emeritus of medicine and genomics at Aix-Marseille University, told The Guardian.

He emphasizes the need for preparedness, with experts collaborating with the University of the Arctic to establish a monitoring network. This network aims to detect diseases caused by ancient microorganisms early on, offering quarantine facilities and medical services to minimize potential outbreaks.

“The crucial part about permafrost is that it is cold, dark and lacks oxygen, which is perfect for preserving biological material,” Claverie said.

“You could put a yogurt in permafrost and it might still be edible 50,000 years later.”


The permafrost’s cold, dark, and oxygen-deprived conditions make it an ideal preserver of biological material, with concerns raised about viruses dating back up to a million years.

The absence of previous human exposure raises worries about our immunity against prehistoric viral invaders, making the scenario of an ancient virus resurfacing a plausible concern, according to Claverie and other virologists.

The potential for a new global pandemic, although seemingly unlikely, is acknowledged by experts who stress the importance of understanding the risks posed by thawing permafrost.

Written by Telha

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