Viruses and bacteria frozen in Antarctica could wake up and be lethal to humanity

The process of planetary warming, generated by the greenhouse gases that humanity releases into the Earth's atmosphere; has produced the accelerated melting of the polar caps, and with it; open the possibility that this leads to the awakening of bacteria, viruses and microorganisms that for thousands or millions of years remained dormant due to the glacial temperatures that kept them in dormancy.

27 de May de 2023 20:11

A latent concern in the scientific field, it opened a stage of research in institutes and universities around the world.

(Leo Romero, Daniel Guzmán) - There is no dispute that our growing industrial activity based on the use of fossil fuels has been one of the predominant factors for there to be a break in the ozone layer, an unprecedented rise in the temperature of the oceans, and the separation of large ice floes from the Arctic and the Antarctic continent.

And although this in itself is serious enough; the chain of adverse events generated by climate change may not end there; if some of the possibilities raised by the scientific sector linked to microbiology are fulfilled, which warns that lethal frozen viruses could awaken as a result of climate change.

Last week, in a publication we made from Agenda Malvinas , we reported on the results obtained by researchers from the University of Plymouth (USA), foreseeing the possibility that the layers of sediments on the Antarctic seabed will crumble and that large tsunamis will impact the coasts of South America, New Zealand and Southeast Asia. But what would happen to the viruses and microorganisms frozen there? If in a short time they come out of their slumber, and humanity is exposed to new bacteria and viruses that have been “sleeping” for thousands of years, or that we have never seen before. acquaintance.

What there is no doubt is that bacteria and viruses can be frozen for millions of years and still be viably infectious, an issue that is highly likely to exist in Antarctica. What science intuits, but does not actually know, is that What are these microorganisms that polar ice contains and how to deal with their dispersion among humans or animals.  

How can a virus survive for so many years and at such a low temperature?

This happens due to cryptobiosis , or the ability of an organism to block its metabolic activity until it becomes null when environmental conditions are unfavorable. That is, they become metabolically inactive for an indeterminate time during which they are dead.

The DNA of organisms in cryptobiosis can remain intact for up to several hundred million years.

By Agenda Malvinas


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