The Washington PostThe Washington Post

'Zombie' viruses are thawing in melting permafrost. But don't panic - yet

By Michael Birnbaum and Ellen Francis

09 Mar 2023 · 5 min read

Viruses that have been trapped in permafrost for millennia are being released due to global warming and may spread to humans. Despite the terrifying name, the health risks are low. The Post reports.

Curated by informed

The thawing of the permafrost due to climate change may expose a vast store of ancient viruses, according to a team of European researchers, who say they have found 13 previously unknown pathogens that had been trapped in the previously frozen ground of Russia's vast Siberian region.

The scientists found one virus that they estimated had been stranded under a lake more than 48,500 years ago, they said, highlighting a potential new danger from a warming planet: what they called "zombie" viruses.

The news, curated.

Subscribe in our mobile app to continue reading this The Washington Post article

Already subscribed? Sign in

Get world-class journalism from premium publishers, curated by editors and experts. All in one app.

Subscribe now and get 14 days free.