Zombie virus: No reason to panic, a virologist assures

Zombie virus: No reason to panic, a virologist assures

Virologist Benoît Barbeau reassures people not to panic about zombie viruses discovered in the snow of eastern Russia.

• Read more: A 48,500-year-old ‘zombie virus’ awakens

Reacting to the discovery by the research team at the University of Aix-Marseille, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Quebec in Montreal noted that viruses can freeze and still be active in places frozen in layers of ice or with some biomass. .

“If there is a thaw, they can recover the ability to infect and spread in an animal or plant species”, he noted on the microphone of QUB radio’s Philippe-Vincent Fossey.

According to him, there are many ways to analyze samples. On the one hand, we can see what we can see with a simple high-throughput sequencing. “What’s different about this type of approach is that we’re retrieving frozen and still active viruses that can be reproduced in the lab. Viruses pose no danger to humans, but they’re like the tip of the iceberg.

Barbio said that what can be recovered in a lab may include virus particles from different organisms that, when released, can infect animal species.

“Once thawed, it must be in contact with the right animal, plant or human to reproduce. They are not active for an eternity following a thaw. We should not be too cautious, but viruses retain their infectivity.

Benoît Barbeau believes that it is very difficult to know what we can expect in the future, because there are so many viruses currently circulating on the planet, and it is difficult to predict what will happen if we find them free.

“Viruses need to interact with the right species to reproduce, which is not a given. The study shows that in places with high frosts, infectious agents, bacteria and parasites can be released. But don’t panic just yet.”

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