- Nov 23, 2011
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.
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.
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.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.
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