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Climate change melts old glaciers and can release 15,000 year old viruses

Climate change is melting old glaciers and can release 15,000-year-old viruses in a devastating worst-case scenario

  • Scientists found 33 viruses in two ice cores from a Tibetan plateau glacier
  • Twenty-eight of the viruses are unknown in science and have not been seen before
  • Scientists warn that old viruses are likely to be released when glaciers melt

Unknown old viruses up to 15,000 years old are lurking in prehistoric ice on top of the Tibetan plateau.

Scientists took two lumps of ice from a glacier and found a total of 33 pathogens frozen, 28 of which have never been seen by humans.

Researchers say that global warming threatens to melt the glaciers of the world and that in a worst case scenario the viruses can be released into the atmosphere.

Rising temperatures have the capacity to massively discharge the viruses in a world that has no immunity to them.

The potential of these viruses is unknown, with some potentially deadly and others probably harmless.

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Scientists collected two lumps of ice from a glacier on top of the Tibetan plateau (photo) and found a total of 33 pathogens frozen, 28 of which have never been seen by humans

Scientists collected two lumps of ice from a glacier on top of the Tibetan plateau (photo) and found a total of 33 pathogens frozen, 28 of which have never been seen by humans

Scientists from the US and China drove 50 meters down into the Tibetan plateau glacier to investigate possible pathogens.

Thanks to a five-year project, they were able to ensure that they detected old viruses and not only picked up contamination from the modern world.

Removing the ice layer (0.5 cm) with a band saw and washing with ethanol and water ensured that it was free of contamination.

They tested their procedure on artificial ice cores before applying it to the two ice cores in the study.

The team of academics then applied genetic and microbiological techniques to capture all the DNA in the two ice cores that they obtained.

“This is an exciting new area of ​​research for us,” said co-author Lonnie Thompson Vice.

Writing in their paper, published online in the pre-print magazine bioRxiv, the researchers write: “Glacier ice is home to various microbes, but the associated viruses and their impact on ice microbiomes have not yet been discovered.”

Although the researchers refused to comment on their research because it is not yet to be evaluated by peers, they write that there is a lot of interest in studying extinct viruses stored in glaciers.

However, this can be impossible because rising temperatures around the world lead to melting of ice, destroying all records of the old microbial life that is in it.

Driven by climate change, the speed of ice thawing in frozen areas is a concern for scientists.

Scientists studying viruses trapped on the Tibetan plateau (photo) glaciers believe that rising global temperatures can massively discharge the viruses in a world that has no immunity to them

Scientists studying viruses trapped on the Tibetan plateau (photo) glaciers believe that rising global temperatures can massively discharge the viruses in a world that has no immunity to them

Scientists studying viruses trapped on the Tibetan plateau (photo) glaciers believe that rising global temperatures can massively discharge the viruses in a world that has no immunity to them

WHAT WAS THE ANTHRAX OUTBREAK 2016?

In 2016, more than 2,300 reindeer died of Anthrax.

A heat wave fed the disease.

The temperatures rose to 35 ° C and thawed the ice.

Russia was forced into burrows in troops trained for biological warfare to help deal with the emergency.

Eight people were confirmed as anthrax infected, which can be fatal, and underwent dozens of tests to ensure that they were not infected.

Natalya Khlopunova, Tass news agency told that about 50 children under 90 people were in the hospital.

“We have decided to monitor the children of all reindeer herders, even if they show no signs of illness,” she said.

Anthrax is potentially fatal and is caused by the traces of bacteria Bacillus anthracis.

It can survive in harsh climates and is armed by various countries.

The disease can be contracted by touching spores, breathing or swallowing, which can lie in dormant water and soil for years.

They write: ‘This could at least lead to the loss of microbial and viral archives that can be diagnostic and informative about climate regimes in the past; however, in the worst case scenario, this ice melt can cause pathogens into the environment. “

Scott Rogers, professor at Bowling Green State University, wrote a book about the potential of sleeping microbes in glaciers being released.

He believes it can cause an incurable pest that can sweep the world and infect people without immunity to the disease.

Professor Rogers writes in his book entitled Defrosting old microbes: emerging taken in a warmer world: “The dangers of ice are real, and with the increase in ice melting worldwide, so are the risks of the release of pathogenic microbes.”

A long-sleeping microbe has already been freed from ice, because in 2016 an anthrax outbreak in Serbia was traced back to old defrosting of permathrost.

More than 2,300 reindeer died in the outbreak in the Yamalo-Nenets region of Siberia, with families evacuated from the region and troops brought in to control the spread of the disease.

Eight people were confirmed as anthrax infected, which can be fatal, and underwent dozens of tests to ensure that they were not infected.

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