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Scientists Are Awakening a 30,000-Year-Old Siberian Zombie Virus

What could go wrong?

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In what sounds like the summary of a sci-fi horror movie, scientists have discovered a super old "giant" virus frozen in the Siberian ice and they've decided to bring it back to life.

According to, the virus – called Mollivirus sibericum – is 30,000 years old, making it the fourth prehistoric virus found in a little over a decade. Is reanimating a frozen zombie virus a bad idea? Everything we know from movies and Stephen King books seems to point towards yes, but scientists swear that they'll check and see if the virus's pathogens are harmful to humans and animals before bringing it back from the dead.

Jean-Michel Claverie, a lead researcher on the project, pointed out to that climate change and industrialisation may mean that scientists won't be the only people waking up extinct viruses trapped in the ice.

"If we are not careful, and we industrialise these areas without putting safeguards in place," Clavierie says, "we run the risk of one day waking up viruses such as small pox that we thought were eradicated."

That's reasonably terrifying, especially since the majority of these prehistoric viruses are larger and more complex than most modern-day contagions, but at least there is some precedent for what the scientists are doing: Last year, scientists resurrected the world's largest virus, and it has yet to transform anybody into an oozy, alien mess. So that's nice.