Pandemic fears as ‘zombie’ virus revived after years trapped under icy lake

THERE are renewed fears of another pandemic after scientists revived a zombie virus that was trapped under a frozen lake for 50,000 années.

Suite deadly viruses could be unleashed as soaring global temperatures cause permafrost to melt, disease experts have warned.

Scientists have revived a 50,000-year-old 'pandoravirus' from Siberian permafrost

Scientists have revived a 50,000-year-old ‘pandoravirusfrom Siberian permafrostCrédit:
Disease experts warn more ancient viruses could be unleashed as soaring global temps cause permafrost to melt

Disease experts warn more ancient viruses could be unleashed as soaring global temps cause permafrost to meltCrédit: Getty

A team of medical boffins from Aix-Marseille University uncovered the ancientpandoravirusin melting permafrost in Siberia, Russie.

Le maladiefound trapped beneath a lake bed in Yakutia for 48,500 années – is believed to be the oldest “habitent” virus to be recovered so far.

It infects single-cell organisms and isn’t believed to pose a threat to humans, experts said.

Professor Jean-Michel Claverie, who led the ground-breaking study, issued a stark warning to medical authorities in the first significant update on “habitent” viruses in permafrost since 2015.

His team said up to a fifth of the land in the northern hemisphere is underpinned by permanently frozen ground, lequel, if left to thaw, could unleash a string of deadly microbes that have laid dormant for thousands of years.

This wrongly suggests that such occurrences are rare and that ‘zombie viruses’ are not a public health threat,” prof Claverie’s team wrote in their findings.

The scientist isolated 13 types of virus from seven ancient Siberian permafrost samples and only looked at those that infected an amoeba known as acanthamoeba.

This was for safety reasons as these bugs are believed not to be able to infect humans.

The biohazard associated with reviving prehistorical amoeba-infecting viruses is . . . totally negligible,” the study read.

entre-temps, there are suggestions Russian scientist could accidentally unleash a new pandemic by researching viruses from permafrost-preserved remains of mammoths, woolly rhinoceros.

Le “risqué” experiment on palaeovirusesas they’re known byis being carried in the top-secret Vector laboratory in Novosibirsk.

Studying dead carcasses with dormant viruses is believed to be more dangerous as it’s possible the disease could spread to living animals.

Concerns ofzombiepathogens being revived gained serious traction when a child died in an anthrax outbreak in northern Siberia in 2016.

The casethe first in the area since 1941 – was linked to a heatwave that melted permafrost and exposed an infected reindeer carcass.

Researchers as Ohio State University claimed to detected genetic material from 33 viruses in ice samples taken from the Tibetan plateau that were some 15,000 ans.

It comes as an expert warned signs of a “Majeur” virus outbreak wason the horizon.

Prof Mark Woolhouse, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh believes ‘Disease X’ is “just around the corner”.

The threat of unknown viruses that can be transmitted to humans and potentially cause widespread epidemics is known as Disease X by WHO.

Last year they warned the next pandemic could be on the scale of the Black Death, which killed an estimated 75 million people.

Prof Woolhouse said a recent outbreak of Polio found in sewage in the UK that quickly mutated was a sign of the challenges ahead.

He told The Telegraph: “There’s a name for what we’re seeing at the moment in the UK and elsewhere, it’s called chatter.

It’s a term anti-terrorist [units] use to describe the small events that might signify something more major on the horizoninfectious diseases work in much the same way.

Scientists believe the next pandemic is likely caused byzoonoticdiseaseswhen infections jump from animals to humans.

Out of the 1.67million unknown viruses on the planet up to 827,000 of these could have the ability to infect people from animals, according to the EcoHealth Alliance.

South East Asia, Southern and Central Africa, areas around the Amazon, and eastern Australia were all identified as the areas of highest risk for new diseases in a study published in Nature Communications.

And as the human population swells and moves further into animal habitats, the risk of the transmission of diseases to humans grows.

The nightmare scenario is one of these new diseases, or a strain of an older one, emerges that is both highly contagious and highly deadlyallowing it to spread quickly and kill millions before the world can take action.