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Binsky89 t1_jbqzpyb wrote

None of that suggests that melting permafrost poses a risk of viruses re-emerging.

I don't know what's involved in 'reviving' a virus, but it sounds like human intervention is required for it to happen.


Darwins_Dog t1_jbr1h9v wrote

The only intervention was they had to isolate the viruses in order to be sure that they were the cause of infections in the amoeba cultures. That's what they mean by reviving. They isolated it, infected cells, which then infected other cells.

Most viruses don't have to be isolated to become infectious, and some are pretty good at crossing species.


Binsky89 t1_jbrbxt2 wrote

That definitely changes things then.

I still have to wonder why the author chose to use the term revive in the context of a thing that wasn't alive in the first place (unless things have changed since my biology course in 08). I feel like thawing would be a much more accurate descriptor of the process.


Morlik t1_jbt85u0 wrote

Revive doesn't necessarily refer to life or being alive. From Webster:

1 : to restore to consciousness or life

2 : to restore from a depressed, inactive, or unused state : bring back

3 : to renew in the mind or memory


FallCheetah7373 t1_jbsxtpu wrote

yeah viruses are neither alive nor dead since the last time I dug deeper into the rabbit hole like 6 months ago it was a spiralling into the same answer over and over as per the top google posts and other html pages


metalmaxilla t1_jbrckv4 wrote

Viruses themselves are not "alive". They exploit a living organism's machinery to cause the infection and have a way to replicate/spread. They simply have to come into contact with another organism with the right door they can get through. So if permafrost melts, it exposes the virus to either wind or water as a mode of transportation to get to living organisms... another way is the melting of its shield allows nearby organisms to come into contact with it.

Sounds like human intervention was needed to isolate samples and prove the hypothesis.


S_A_N_D_ t1_jbrx7vt wrote

Viruses equally rely on their host for binding, cell entry, and replication.

The further we get from these viruses time wise, the less efficient it will likely be at the above.

I really hate these scare articles because there is very little to suggest these viruses actually pose a risk. There is however real risk from organisms that are currently co-evolving their virulence in tandem with us right now.


Binsky89 t1_jbrf11d wrote

Yeah, OP explained what they meant by reviving.

I think it's an extremely poor choice of words for something that was never alive to begin with.


metalmaxilla t1_jbriu02 wrote

It's a key nuance at the basis of the hypothesis that suggests there is a risk of re-emergence without deliberate intervention.

If melting permafrost uncovered intact virus, enabling a susceptible host to be exposed, then infection could theoretically happen.

That is the basis of the epidemiology triad of agent-host-environment.


zyl0x t1_jbtlbab wrote

Viruses aren't even "alive" in the traditional sense outside of a host. They are inert until they come into contact with living cells. So presuming their cellular structure survived the freezing process itself, there's nothing special that needs to be done to "revive" frozen viruses besides introducing them to a host.