Scientists Are About To Resurrect A 30,000-Year-Old Virus “To Discover If It Is Harmful To Humans”

frankenvirusBy Amanda Froelich

A ‘monster’ virus which has lain dormant in the frozen wastelands of northeastern Russia is about to be resurrected by researchers curious of its potential effects.

Scientists anticipate “reanimating” a 30,000-year-old virus to learn more about it and discover if it is harmful to animals or humans. Mollivirus sibericum, which translates to soft Siberian virus, has been dubbed “Frankenvirus” by many who are in opposition of the quest to bring it back to life. 

In contrast to other viruses, the soft Siberian bug is a monster. Not only does it have 523 genetic proteins and measures 0.6 microns, it can also be seen using light microscopy.

As BBC News reports, the Mollivirus sibericum virus is the fourth prehistoric virus to have been discovered since 2003, and experts warn climate change and thawing ice could resurrect similar – and perhaps even more dangerous – pathogens.


The French National Center for Scientific Research made the discovery in the Kolyma lowland region of Russia. The soft Siberian virus is the second of its kind to be found by the team. In 2003, researchers discovered the Minivirus, followed by the Pandoraviruses in 2013, and Pithovirus sibericum which was discovered last year.

Reserachers wrote in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS): 

The saga of giant viruses started in 2003. Two additional types of giant viruses have been discovered [and] we now describe Mollivirus sibericum, a fourth type of giant virus isolated from the same permafrost sample. These four types of giant virus exhibit different structures, sizes, genome length, and replication cycles. Their origin and mode of evolution are the subject of conflicting hypotheses. The fact that two different viruses could be easily revived from prehistoric permafrost should be of concern in a context of global warming.

The regions in which these mega microbes are being discovered are being increasingly exploited for their mineral resources, especially oil. As Upriser shares, the rate at which they are exploited will no doubt increase as the areas become more accessible due to melting ice and climate change.

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Said lead researcher Jean-Michel Claverie:

A few viral particles that are still infectious may be enough, in the presence of a vulnerable host, to revive potentially pathogenic viruses. If we are not careful, and we industrialize these areas without putting safeguards in place, we run the risk of one day waking up viruses such as small pox that we thought were eradicated.

That’s definitely concerning. 

In the lab, Professor Claverie and his team will attempt to resurrect the newly discovered virus by placing it with a single-cell amoeba, which will serve as its host. The virus Pithovirus sibericum was revived in March 2014 using similar techniques.

UPDATE:

Research has been carried out, and according to co-author Dr Chantal Abergel, the virus “comes into the cell, multiplies and finally kills the cell. It is able to kill the amoeba – but it won’t infect a human cell.”

Still, a lot of controversy surrounds the scientists plan to “revive” the Mollivirus sibericum virus. Different than most viruses circulating today, these ancient pathogens are not only bigger, they’re far more complex genetically.

The recently discovered virus has more than 500 genes, and the Pandoravirus found in 2003 has 2,500. Compare that to the Influenza A virus which has eight genes.

Of course, a philosophical debate will not deter scientists from doing their work, but a number of pros and cons deserve to be weighed before further research is conducted.

In 2004, United States scientists resurrected the “Spanish flu” virus, which ended up killing tens of millions of people at the start of the 20th century. The revived the virus to understand why the pathogen was so virulent. 

Researchers from the States traveled to Alaska to take frozen lung tissues from a woman who was buried in permafrost, and teased genetic details out of the samples and from autopsy issues stored in formalin. Their work allowed the team to reconstruct the code for the virus’ eight genes – but at what cost? All the work was done in a top-security lab at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), yet still wasn’t contained.

We have to ask ourselves as an informed public – and voice our concerns to those ‘in charge’ – if “reviving” a monster virus and is really in the best interest of the public. 

What are your thoughts? Comment below and share this article!

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22 Comments on "Scientists Are About To Resurrect A 30,000-Year-Old Virus “To Discover If It Is Harmful To Humans”"

  1. Resurrecting a pathogenic virus is absolutely and completely stupid!! Period. There is no Plan B. What if is tremendously virulent??? No plan for that…..! Don’t do it!!

    • Stetson Mazziotto | September 15, 2015 at 6:32 pm | Reply

      Wrong. Think for a second. With the rate global warming is going now, that virus is going to reveal itself some day regardless, it is completely inevitable. This way, at least scientists can create a vaccine before that happens.

      • Wow, I have no faith in vaccines! Look what they are doing to our children. Would you want to put your life, your future into their hands with forced vaccinations for everyone since this supervirus would be pressing itself upon us? Do you really, truly trust those folks? I don’t think so!

      • Hogwash. There IS no global warming; it’s a complete and utter sham. Resurrecting ancient viruses is total madness.

      • You mean climate change. That has always happened through Earths history. Don’t really matter if a bug gets out. HUMANS are eradicating forest that provides us with clean air,eradicating forests that provides us with medicines,poisoning ourselves with food and poisoning our much needed clean water supplies with improper waste management. Only those with the right genetic chemistry will survive a prehistoric outbreak. Let nature run its course. The earth knows how to cleanse itself. And unfortunately we are more of a parasite to the Earth then any virus. We cant live without the earth but the earth can flourish without us humans.

      • Yes, the global warming that is so obvious they have to manufacture and manipulate the data to get a .04% bump with a 35% confidence rating… Maybe this is the bug the wiped out the dinosaurs.. maybe not, but I am not comfortable reanimating it…

  2. More fear porn and an advertisement for the mentality of those who want DOMINATION. Don’t buy into it. Always send threats back to the SOURCE by saying this “YOUR will not mine will be done.” This way they suffer at their OWN hands. When you become involved in fear or negative emotion, you are inviting……..back on yourself.

    • What a perfect way to strip oneself of perspective and common sense. It there’s a threat, make some preparations, do something about it. Don’t just play with words – instead Take Action!

      • Why not both??? Obviously you haven’t taken the time to learn about your very real power within. My children Are in their 40s & 50s. To me its common sense that you don’t pump toxins into the body or take pills & potions handed out by Drs. When you run to Drs for aches & pains you get what you grizzle for. I don’t go near Drs. So your sarcasm back at you.

        • I think you must be replying to someone else….? You mention sending sarcasm back at someone but the whole thing just doesn’t make sense as a reply to my comment. Hope you find a way to respond to the person you were targeting.

  3. On its own this could be seen as potentially catastrophic, however, when seen as a possible source of a possible epidemic it pales in comparison to what the major world powers are concocting in biolabs…..we have 100 of them here in the USA with many being a Level IV facility. Man has already engineered and created bio weapons that have the potential to destroy however many living things as wanted. I agree that exploring this new virus may tantalize scientists but exactly how are they going to test it to see its lethality? Are they going to start with lesser species and move their way up into the human population without telling us? It’s happened before. If we are never told the truth about what makes us severely ill and kills us, how are we to know we are being used as guinea pigs!

  4. No doubt “scientists” want to find out if they can use it or tweak it to kill a lot of people. This is what they do while pretending to do good things like creating “vaccines” to “protect” us. Wherever there’s money behind these efforts, there’s malevolence.

    • I don’t think they are thinking about much past their own egos and accolades nowadays. They want to tweak it just because they can…. for research grants and great opportunities to publish white papers to get even more research money to do more research, say, on the reason a shrimp farts..or better yet..let’s stick a shrimp on a treadmill and …. I think the people/entities giving them money are doing the thinking and we aren’t clear on what that thinking is and don’t suspect we will be updated any time soon..that bothers me.

  5. “It is able to kill the amoeba – but it won’t infect a human cell.” They will modify it and then it will kill humans as well…. that’s their main goal, isn’t it?

  6. With that many genes it can obviously mutate itself for survival.

  7. So is GE’s frankenfish but that got a patent and cleared by the FDA…to eat…LOL

  8. Deborah Wilkins Johnston | March 22, 2016 at 8:34 pm | Reply

    Crazy! Just another reason to cause death and scare the rest of into getting their new vaccine.

  9. Budd Margolis | March 24, 2016 at 10:52 am | Reply

    This complex monster virus may be the only such virus in existence and I would rather we avoided a catastrophe, human or animal/insect, so I would say we should seriously consider burning this very dangerous virus. Just read up on smallpox and you begin to consider that the worlds worst killer can return. If it does, 20% of the population will not be able to be vaccinated because of health issues, some will die because of vaccination and how will you vaccinate everyone? Who will pay? The Mexicans?

  10. This is one terrible article. It is fearmongering based on a largely incorrect understanding of microbiology & lab processes, and attempts to play on the fears & emotions of the general population by using phrasing such as ‘monster virus’ ‘frankenvirus’, “That’s definitely concerning” etc. Additionally, it uses incorrect jargon to make it seem more dangerous than it actually is.

    Now on to actual facts:

    -These tests are conducted in BSL Level 3 & 4 laboratories, which are ridiculously stringently regulated to prevent any contamination to the outside world. I cannot stress enough on how highly controlled these environments are to prevent outside contamination. SARS, Ebola, MRSA and many other microbes are tested in these facilities on a daily basis, allowing for better lines of drugs combating these diseases to be developed in cases of an outbreak. These laboratories are the reason we are able to quickly react to epidemics such as Ebola.

    -More proteins in a virus does not mean it is more harmful. In fact, it is quiet the opposite – the virus needs to spend far more energy & resources to replicate itself, resulting in a heavily impeded ability to replicate and spread. Additionally, the increased size impedes the ability to stay hidden in cells, making it an easier target for the immune system.

    -Genetic complexity does not determine virulence, see early bullet point. Again, a fundamental lack of understanding in microbiology by the author of the article.

    -The testing of such viruses that may become present in the future due to climate change allow us to design drugs and other measures to reduce the risk posed by them. Without the knowledge, we are (potentially, in the unlikely case it actually is even capable of replicating in a human host, let alone cause disease) always worse off.

    Sorry for the wall of text, but it pisses me off when people with a fundamental lack of understanding on the topic they are covering write severely misleading & incorrect articles simply to get a reaction out of people. This is unethical journalism at it’s finest.

  11. I cannot think of even ONE reason to resurrect a virus that has died out and been gone for well beyond what most of us think of in terms of history.

    There can only be BAD from this one. Only bad. The highest bidder would be able to secure some of the tweaked resurrected virus and do a lot of damage with it. Of course, governments like our own would create a vaccine of some sort and try to scare/force people into getting it. Who knows – they may insert it into a future “flu” vaccine and create havok that way.

    If it died out, there was a reason for it. ZERO need to resurrect it. The only ones who would think it was a good idea would be those who are thinking in terms of population control. IF they go ahead with this one, I vote that the scientists do the research with their own pets and family members. The rest of us are not interested.

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