Coronavirus II? Scientists Find 28 UNKNOWN Viruses in Chinese Glacier; Melt Could Unleash Them

Saturday, January 25, 2020
By Paul Martin

by Selwyn Duke
Friday, 24 January 2020

China is one of the world’s oldest civilizations. But recently discovered viruses locked in its Guliya ice cap on the northwestern Tibetan Plateau are far older than the Middle Kingdom is, dating back 15 millennia. Of course, while scientists are rightly curious about these ancient and unknown quantities, they’re also concerned — about what could happen if these viruses are unleashed by an ice melt-off.

The discovery was made via recent examinations of two ice cores, approximately 520 and 15,000 years old respectively, taken from the glacier in 1992 and 2015. The analysis “revealed 33 viral populations,” wrote the authors — 28 of which are unknown.

The authors are 11 researchers, of varying specialties, from a number of different departments associated with three American universities (details here). Their findings were published in bioRxiv, which is operated by the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

Not all viruses are harmful, of course; some are benign while others can even be beneficial to human health and agriculture. That said, the researchers wrote in their study that in “a worst-case scenario” an “ice melt could release pathogens into the environment.”

“This possibility is why scientists want to learn as much as possible about the viruses now so if they are unleashed into the world, we’ll know how to deal with them,” writes the U.S. Sun.

The site points out that while deadly “viruses spreading into the environment from melting glaciers is reminiscent of the Sky Atlantic drama series Fortitude,” the threat is far from fictional.

For example, a related situation arose in 2016 when “biological warfare troops were rushed to the Russian Arctic amid growing concerns over a serious anthrax outbreak,” the Sun explains.

“Around 40 people were hospitalised and a 12-year-old boy died from the deadly infection after a contaminated reindeer corpse — buried at least 70 years before — thawed because of a heatwave [sic] in northern Siberia.… Over 1,000 reindeer also died,” the organ continues.

The timing of this news of ancient viruses extant in China is eerie considering the nation is currently plagued with an outbreak of coronavirus, which also was previously unknown. The disease, whose flu-like symptoms include a cough, high fever, and difficulty breathing and which can permanently damage the lungs, has thus far killed 25 people and infected 830 in China, according to Beijing authorities. Imperial College London estimated, however, that there could be 4,000 cases in the Chinese city of Wuhan alone.

The outbreak has prompted the government to place eight “Chinese cities, more than 23 million people, effectively under quarantine,” reports Zero Hedge blog. There are also between 14 and 20 confirmed cases in total in eight other countries: the United States, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Saudi Arabia.

The Rest…HERE

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