You’d be surprised to know how many people harbour an interesting fascination for zombies. It’s not a co-incidence that the concept of zombies dominates our pop-culture. Don’t get us wrong, we too are fascinated by them, but we love seeing our zombies in TV shows like The Walking Dead, movies like Army of the Dead, and video games like Resident Evil. In real life, we’d rather have a zombie apocalypse be a far-fetched and unlikely scenario.
So it’s probably safe to say that the internet wasn’t amused when it was announced that scientists have revived a ‘zombie virus’ that was discovered in Siberia and is said to be around 50,000 years old! After all, we now live in a world that can be divided into pre-COVID and post-COVID phases. The Coronavirus pandemic, a colossal event that caused a seismic shift in our way of life, still isn’t over as new cases and variants keep popping up in different parts of the world.
However, you need not worry about a sudden zombie apocalypse as scientists, who actually recovered 13 different viruses, have revived them as a precautionary measure to conduct research and find out if any of them could potentially be deadly.
Where Was The ‘Zombie Virus’ Discovered?
The scary ‘zombie virus’, which has been given the name Pandoravirus yedoma, was discovered under the permafrost in Siberia. For those not aware of the term, permafrost refers to the ground that always remains below 0 °C (32 °F) for at least two years. Permafrost can be located either on land or under the ocean, and most of it is found in the Northern Hemisphere.
As mentioned above, scientists have discovered a total of 13 primitive viruses, the oldest of which is an amoeba virus found under a lake. This virus is almost 50,000 years old, 48,500 to be precise. Other viruses were found in mammoth wool and the intestines of a Siberian wolf that were buried under the permafrost for thousands of years.
Does This ‘Zombie Virus’ Pose Any Risk To Humanity?
According to Jean-Marie Alempic, a researcher belonging to the French National Centre for Scientific Research, the microbes, if released, can pose a significant threat to public health. As climate change continues to increase global temperatures, a large number of glaciers and permafrost will continue to melt. As such, any microbes trapped in them will get released in our atmosphere, and can cause havoc if we aren’t prepared for them, just like the Coronavirus caught us off-guard.
That is precisely why scientists have chosen to revive the viruses so as to conduct thorough research and find out how deadly, if at all, these viruses can be. This is necessary as, according to scientists, all 13 viruses had the potential to become infectious pathogens.
Well, here’s hoping we don’t have to stock up on supplies and weapons to ward off a hoard of zombies in the near future.
(Main and feature image: Courtesy Unsplash)