Long-dormant bacteria and viruses, trapped in ice and permafrost for centuries, are reviving

Vertigo

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That could be a little worrying. Very interesting article though. I recommend reading the whole thing! :)
 

BAYLOR

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These dormant bacteria could potentially unleash multiple global pandemics which could end up decimating the world population and likely lead to the toppling of our civilization. Also these bacteria wouldn't necessarily have to be lethal to us to be damaging. Imagine a disease that could decimate cattle, sheep , crops or the plankton ecology of the oceans. That could be just as deadly to us. :unsure:
 

Vertigo

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There's no denying they could but on the other hand the permafrost has been thawing for quite some time now and it hasn't happened on that scale yet. That's not to say we shouldn't be wary, but there's really not a lot we can do; we can't formulate vaccines etc. for microbes that we haven't yet seen.
 

BAYLOR

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There's no denying they could but on the other hand the permafrost has been thawing for quite some time now and it hasn't happened on that scale yet. That's not to say we shouldn't be wary, but there's really not a lot we can do; we can't formulate vaccines etc. for microbes that we haven't yet seen.

The thought of what might emerge from the permafrost is frightening . :unsure:
 

Danny McG

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I think we might all mutate into superheroes!
I remember late sixties when everybody seemed to be waffling on about the knock on effects of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the radiation was theorised to have mutated microbes and therefore infected people would mutate.
Me and schoolmates were constantly on the lookout for emerging Spidermen etc :D

Excerpt from wikipedia on 'the beast from 20,000 fathoms'(a b &w film based on Ray Bradbury's the fog horn)..

#. Unfortunately, it bleeds all over the streets of New York, unleashing a "horrible, virulent" prehistoric contagion, which begins to infect the populace, causing even more fatalities. The infection precludes blowing up the Rhedosaurus or even setting it ablaze, lest the contagion spread further#
 
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HanaBi

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To quote Fuchs from The Thing: "There is still cellular activity in these remains. They're not dead yet!"

..and the rest is history, as they say! :eek:
 

Dave

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Sorry, thanks for sharing, but I think the article is sensationalist and poorly written. It contradicts itself:
We have had antibiotics for almost a century... In response, bacteria have responded by evolving antibiotic resistance.
...the bacteria... is one of many that have naturally evolved resistance to antibiotics. This suggests that antibiotic resistance has been around for millions or even billions of years.

Most of our major infectious diseases have jumped species - usually from farmed animals that we brought into our own accommodation overnight - but also bird Influenza and monkey Ebola.

Bacteria in permafrost will not be that ancient - 12,000 years at most I would think - and humans haven't changed that much in that time. Yes, there could easily be a pandemic caused by this, but there could just as easily be a pandemic from bird flu or Ebola. Large numbers could die, but no end of the Earth apocalypse scenario here. I would be very doubtful that more unusual and really ancient bacteria could proliferate or flourish in modern conditions with a high oxygen atmosphere. There is even an argument that we are constantly being exposed to space borne bacteria from meteorites.

Smallpox from dead bodies might be a problem, however, as most people now have no resistance. Inoculations stopped years ago, it only exists as a sample in a biological weapons lab, and we no longer have the everyday frequent contact with cowpox we once would have.

That is real the problem here, the sterile environment in which every surface is cleaned with anti-bacterial wipes, where kids don't play outside in the dirt, and where we have little contact with animals or the environment.
 

Vertigo

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Sorry, thanks for sharing, but I think the article is sensationalist and poorly written. It contradicts itself:


Most of our major infectious diseases have jumped species - usually from farmed animals that we brought into our own accommodation overnight - but also bird Influenza and monkey Ebola.

Bacteria in permafrost will not be that ancient - 12,000 years at most I would think - and humans haven't changed that much in that time. Yes, there could easily be a pandemic caused by this, but there could just as easily be a pandemic from bird flu or Ebola. Large numbers could die, but no end of the Earth apocalypse scenario here. I would be very doubtful that more unusual and really ancient bacteria could proliferate or flourish in modern conditions with a high oxygen atmosphere. There is even an argument that we are constantly being exposed to space borne bacteria from meteorites.

Smallpox from dead bodies might be a problem, however, as most people now have no resistance. Inoculations stopped years ago, it only exists as a sample in a biological weapons lab, and we no longer have the everyday frequent contact with cowpox we once would have.

That is real the problem here, the sterile environment in which every surface is cleaned with anti-bacterial wipes, where kids don't play outside in the dirt, and where we have little contact with animals or the environment.
In fairness Dave, although we have only produced our own antibiotics for a relatively short time the natural world (fungi in particular) has been producing them for millions of years. And in fact almost all of our antibiotics are directly derived from natural ones.

However I do agree that the article is alarmist; as I said above, the permafrost has been melting for a long time now and it has yet to produce anything that serious.
 

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