TThe risk of a new pandemic like COVID-19 It is something we will always be wary of after what happened in recent years.
The truth is that there are already a lot of hypotheses about where a new virus might come from to wreak havoc on the world.
According to a study published in National Geographic, melting ice in the Arctic is key, as it may trigger the emergence of viruses or bacteria that have been frozen for years. Indeed, in the Canadian Lake Hazen, traces of microscopic life have already been found that were frozen to the bottom and reappeared after global warming.
RNA and DNA samples
The RNA and DNA molecules salvaged from the bottom were studied for the type of virus or bacteria.
Once this is done, the phylogenetic trees of the viruses are compared to the trees of their potential hosts.
“We have very little understanding of what kind of extreme microbes — microbes that live in many different conditions for a long time — have the potential to reappear,” Kimberly Miner From NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
“These are microbes that have evolved with things like giant sloths or mammoths, and we have no idea what they might do when released into our ecosystems.
“It is important to understand the secondary and tertiary effects of such large changes in the Earth as the thawing of permafrost.
“While some of the risks associated with melting ice have been captured for as long as a million years from the material, we are still a long way from being able to model and predict exactly when and where it will occur. This research is critical.”
Miner Leading a review about this previously unexpected threat. In addition to potentially pandemic-causing viruses, there are concerns that thawing permafrost could release things like nuclear waste into the environment.
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