French researchers explain how they brought back 13 viruses from samples collected in Russia
Rising temperatures due to climate change will likely awaken many microbial threats, including pathogenic viruses, from the past. This is the motivation that prompted French researchers to go as far as Siberia to awaken viruses.
The project (not yet under review) is led by a team of researchers from the University of Aix-Marseille in France, who had already brought back to life a 30,000-year-old virus found in Siberian permafrost in 2014. With the latest group of pathogens, including one dating back 48,500 years, researchers have possibly brought the oldest virus back to life .
“As sadly well documented by recent (and ongoing) pandemics, any new virus, even if linked to known families, almost always requires the development of highly specific medical responses , such as new antivirals or vaccines,” the study authors write. .
There is no equivalent of “broad-spectrum antibiotics” against viruses, due to the lack of universally conserved drug processes across different viral families. It is therefore legitimate to reflect on the risk that ancient viral particles remain infectious and recirculate due to the thawing of ancient permafrost layers,” they add.
- An update on eukaryotic viruses revived from ancient permafrost. (biorxiv.org)