Scientists plan to reanimate 30,000 year old Siberian virus

Scientist have announced a plan to reanimate an ancient giant virus that was discovered in the frozen wastes of Siberia. The virus is called Mollivirus sibericum and is the fourth pre-historic virus to be discovered since 2003. It is the second ancient virus to be discovered by this team. The scientists say that they plan to determine if the virus could cause harm animals or humans before waking it.

A giant virus is still very small, to be considered giant the virus has to be longer than half a micron, which is about .00002 of an inch. Mollivirus sibericum is 0.6 microns and was discovered in the permafrost of northeastern Russia.

The discovery of the virus is seen as a warning by the scientists who say that global warming could result in ancient viruses reemerging that could have ill effects for man and our world today. One concern for finding multiple ancient viruses in Siberia is that the area is becoming increasingly visited by humans as the mineral resources in the region are exploited.

That means there is the potential for humans to run into these viruses in the wild with the potential to infect people. The scientists fear that we might even wake viruses like small pox that are considered eradicated today. To reanimate the newly discovered virus, the research team will place it with a single-cell amoeba. Researchers reanimated "Spanish flu" virus in the past, which killed tens of millions of people, by taking samples of lung tissue from a person who died from it that was buried in permafrost. That process was carried out by the CDC to try and learn what made it so virulent.Read the full research paper on the virus here.