Zombie Virus

Facts for Prelims

Zombie Virus

News: Recently, Scientists have warned that the melting Arctic ‘permafrost’ may start a new disease outbreak due to the release of ancient viruses.

About:
• These viruses have been preserved in the ground for thousands of years in permafrost, live viruses demonstrating their ability to infect single-celled organisms. One virus sample was found to be 48,500 years old.
• The risk is heightened due to the escalating temperatures caused by global warming, leading to the thawing of previously frozen ice.
• The isolated viruses posed no threat to humans but pointed out the presence of genomic traces of poxviruses and herpesviruses, which are well-known human pathogens.

What is Permafrost?
• Permafrost is a permanently frozen layer on or under Earth’s surface. It consists of soil, gravel, and sand, usually bound together by ice. 
• Permafrost remains at or below 0°C (32ºF) for at least two years. It can be found in areas where temperatures rarely rise above freezing, such as Arctic regions like Greenland, Alaska, Russia, China, and Eastern Europe

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