Zombie Virus

  • IASbaba
  • December 5, 2022
  • 0
Governance, Science and Technology
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In News: European researchers have raised concerns of yet another pandemic after resurrecting a 48,500-year-old ‘zombie virus’ from a frozen lake in Russia.

Climate change-induced thawing of the permanent frozen land (permafrost) in the Arctic could pose a new public health threat.

About Zombie Virus:

  • Zombie virus is the term given to a virus that is frozen in ice and therefore dormant.
  • The virus emerged due to the thawing of permafrost as the global temperature is rising.
  • It is a group of viruses which have been dormant for thousands of years.
  • It is dubbed Pandoravirus yedoma after the mythological character Pandora which was 48,500 years old and has the potential to infect other organisms.
  • It was discovered below the bottom of a lake in Yukechi Alas in Yakutia, Russia.

Major cause of Zombie Virus:

  • One-quarter of the Northern hemisphere is underlain by permanently frozen ground which is referred to as permafrost.
  • Due to climate warming, irreversibly thawing permafrost is releasing organic matter frozen for up to a million years and most of which decomposes into carbon dioxide and methane which further enhances the greenhouse effect.
  • Part of this organic matter also consists of revived cellular microbes (prokaryotes, unicellular eukaryotes) as well as viruses that remained dormant since prehistoric times.

Potential threats:

  • All of the zombie viruses have the potential to be infectious and hence pose a health danger.
  • It is believed that pandemics like Covid-19 will become more common in the future as melting permafrost releases long-dormant viruses.

Source: Down to Earth


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