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Wednesday, March 5, 2014
New Virus Resurrected... Will Scientists Create a New Zombie Threat?
Scientists apparently have resurrected a 30,000-year-old virus from the frozen tundra of Siberia.
Yes, that old. And while they say that the plithovirus is only a threat to amoeba, never say never, right?
All kinds of possibilities come to mind, especially when scientists already have grown an ancient flower and uncovered near whole wooly mammoth DNA. (See 14 Extinct Animals that Could be Resurrected - I vote for the Dodo bird.)
Scientists in the lab have long been horror movie and book fodder back to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, especially when there is still that possibility of a virus jumping species. While scientists apparently have been harvesting the permafrost and ice in Siberia, according to the New York Times, for "decades" without signs of any infection, that doesn't mean it cannot happen. Just that it hasn't. Yet.
I'm of the mind that people mess with things they often shouldn't only because they can and because of the lure of the unknown. Who wouldn't want to see a baby mammoth walk the earth again? Who isn't curious about what ancient flowers and plants looked or smelled like?
But just because they can, does it mean they should? Because, you know, the inevitable often happens. Think Jurassic Park come to life. Think odd diseases appearing, or maybe viruses mutating and connecting with already growing antibiotic-resistant strains.
I'm not the first author to ponder the implications. Without getting into all the scientific explanations, I blamed a strange, mutated virus escaping from a lab for my version of the Z (zombie) virus in my book, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie.
The nice thing? It's fiction. But how long before maybe, it isn't?
(top art - freedigitalphotos.net)