Scientists have recently found a 30,000 year old virus in the Russian tundra.
The newly discovered virus, called Pithovirus Sibericum, was revealed – and revived – due to climate change and the melting of the earth´s ice caps.
The virus, large enough to be seen under an optical microscope, was found in permafrost near the East Siberia Sea, at a location where the average annual temperature is 7 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fortunately, this pathogen appears to only affect amoebas and so would not pose a threat to human cells.
The virus, discovered by a research team from France´s Aix-Marseille University, raises the possibility that other, potentially more dangerous, pathogens could lurk just beneath our earth´s surface.
This could escalate to become a dangerous scenario as oil and mining companies continue to exploit new areas.
If humans were to become exposed to a previously unknown virus we could face a massive threat to our survival due to lack of immunity.
Similarly, should we encounter an ancient pathogen that we have not faced in thousands of years, we would be woefully unprepared and may not have medication that would successfully combat the virus.
The research team´s findings were published March 3 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.