Scientists Set To Revive Frankenstein-Like Virus Discovered in Siberian Permafrost
What would you do if a Frankenstein-like creature comes into existence? As we all know, Frankenstein is one of the memorable characters f...
What would you do if a Frankenstein-like creature comes into existence? As we all know, Frankenstein is one of the memorable characters from the horror movie genre department. Just recently, group of french scientists have made an announcement that they have discovered a new prehistoric virus. They found it from the frozen Siberian wastelands, the recent discovery made the scientists to decide in bringing it back to life. But before we get a lot of violent reactions from this news, the group already promised and assured that the giant virus won’t be able to harm anyone. The virus we are talking about is called Mollivirus sibericum, which is translated as ‘soft virus from Siberia’, and measures at 0.6 microns, just over a thousandth of a millimeter. Thus, it is officially termed a ‘giant virus’.
Mollivirus sibericum is considered to be a monster among other viruses. This virus is known to be included of 523 genetic proteins, and if you compare it to a common flu virus genome that has only 11 proteins, it is easy to conclude that it is a humongous form of virus. It is the fourth type of prehistoric virus found since 2003 was found in the same sample taken from a depth of 30m Chukotka, East Siberia. Scientists are now set to bring the virus back to life, but they will first make sure that it is inactive and won’t trigger disease in existing humans or animals. According to researchers. the revival will happen by placing the virus with single-cell amoeba, which will serve as its host.
“This discovery, which suggests giant viruses are not uncommon and are very diverse, also proves that the capacity of viruses to survive in the permafrost for very long periods is not limited by a particular type of virus, but probably covers viral families with different replication strategies and therefore potentially pathogenic,” - France’s National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS)
Back in 2004, US scientists revived a known notorious Spanish flu virus, which killed tens of millions of people until early last century. But scientists expressed that reviving the monster virus as challenging as they were concerned over what might happen to similar viruses due to climate change.
“A few viral particles that are still infectious may be enough, in the presence of a vulnerable host, to revive potentially pathogenic viruses, If we are not careful, and we industrialize these areas without putting safeguards in place, we run the risk of one day waking up viruses such as smallpox that we thought were eradicated.” - Jean-Michel Claverie, one of the lead researchers of the project