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Giant viruses released from thawing ground

ALEMPIC, J.-M. et al. Viruses. 2023 At around 1 micron in diameter, giant viruses are 10 times larger than common virusesALEMPIC, J.-M. et al. Viruses. 2023 

After remaining frozen for up to 48,500 years, giant viruses trapped in permafrost samples were able to wake up and infect free-living protozoa of the genus Acanthamoeba, in which they multiplied so much that they caused swelling. The experiment by scientists from France, Russia, and Germany showed that it is possible for viruses that have been dormant for millennia to come back to life. In old permafrost samples from Siberia, the Lena River, and the Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia, they identified 13 new virus groups, of which five have not yet been revived: Pandoravirus, Cedratvirus, Megavirus, Pacmanvirus, and Pithovirus. All five are giant viruses that can infect bacteria and even other viruses, but there is still no evidence that they would be harmful to humans. The study was the largest to date of frozen giant viruses capable of coming back to life as permafrost melts due to global warming (Viruses, February 18; Medscape, March 30).