Let’s resurrect a 30,000-year-old ‘giant’ virus… for SCIENCE!
Scientists who discovered a prehistoric virus called Mollivirus sibericum in the Siberian permafrost plan to give the virus its first wakeup call since the last Ice Age (after first verifying that it can’t harm humans and animals, thankfully). It’s hoped the study could shed insight into ancient dormant viruses that could, it’s feared, get another chance at spreading as permafrost retreats due to climate change.
In other news, USA Today is reporting that the “Pentagon’s most secure laboratories may have mislabeled, improperly stored and shipped samples of potentially infectious plague bacteria, which can cause several deadly forms of disease.”
The “let’s not be an alarmist” side of me isn’t worried. After all, the ancient, scary-sounding, “giant” virus allegedly won’t be woken up to be studied if it’s deemed harmful to humans. (I trust they can check these things safely.)
However, the fiction writer part of me really wants to imagine the worst case scenario because, damn!, there’s some great story-telling material here.