More than 20 ancient viruses pose threats as glaciers melt

A study conducted by a group of  scientists from United States and China discovered 28 ancient viruses in a 15,000 year old ice sheet in Tibet posing a health risk in the modern world should the glaciers melt due to worsening climate change. 

The team obtained two ice cores as samples and through a three-step decontamination protocol, they discovered 5 viruses that are now present on the planet and 28 ancient viruses that scientists have never seen before. 

“The study establishes ultra-clean microbial and viral sampling procedures for glacier ice, which complements prior in silico-decontamination methods and expands the clean procedures to viruses,” the team wrote in their paper published earlier this month. 

They also highlighted the effect of climate change in our ability to stay safe in soon-to-be dangerous areas. 

“In a worst case scenario, this ice melt could release pathogens into the environment,” the team added.

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