Thawing Out Danger
A 30,000 year old discovery could really affect our future. This is an ancient amoeba infected with the Pithovirus.
The thought of transitioning from the bitter cold of winter to the warm, welcoming temperature of spring, is a very comforting thought. When the weather is able to melt the away the snow, we will be able to hear the birds chirping, smell the aroma of daffodils blossoming, see the sun shine through the budding branches of trees, and taste the crisp light air that alleviates any dark mood. Unfortunately, the life that comes with warmth could potentially lead us to danger, specifically the warmth that comes from global warming.
Very recently in Siberia, scientist were able to discover a new/prehistoric virus which they have classified as a Pithovirus. This old virus has been considered abnormal due to its immense size (equaling to the size of common bacteria). What is stranger about this large pathogen is that it lacks the biological functions that other microorganism of that size possess. Despite the fact that human beings are not equipped with natural defenses to combat such an ancient pathogen, information surrounding the Pithovirus indicates that it does not present any immediate harm to humans. According to experimentation, this virus does not attack multicellular organisms and only targets unicellular beings like amoebas.
This recent discovery is fascinating in a historical context, but the repercussion of such a discovery can lead to a very hazardous future. While this new discovery can be considered harmless, it can also be seen as a bullet dodged for humanity. The fact that such organisms can survive frozen can open up the possibility that an unknown pathogen is awaiting in the snow that could bypass the human immune system and be lethal. With the threat of global warming increasing over the years, the melting of frigid environments (such as the permafrost ground in Siberia) can release potential problems for the future.
So while we might be happy with the fact that the wintertime ice will be dissolving soon, we must tread the future with caution in regards to global warming in general. It is always good to discover things that may have been around before the existence of humanity, but what good are these discoveries if it could put us in jeopardy?