BENEATH THE ICE: ANCIENT MICROBES LURK IN THE DARKNESS

jared-erondu-21326

FORGOTTEN GERMS AND CLIMATE CHANGES

cryopreservation

 

“An asteroid could hit us at any moment. This is not-and also the most successful kind of life on this planet is not us, its microbes. They are the ones who greatly outnumber us, and may eventually destroy us.”

Barbara Ehrenreich

 

The science will never give up fighting back the invisible and dangerous world of microbes. This is not just a battle but a never-ending war. At the moment when the humankind believes it is all ended and that we are the winners with some of the perfect medical solutions, the tiny particle of chaos proves us wrong. Our two worlds will be never in peace.

43FBEA1600000578-4859762-image-a-74_1504739683681

The bacteria and virus have been always on the top of the stealth bio system. Since the early ages of civilization, they have colored our existence with pain, tears and death. Some of the worst and scariest diseases that ripped the big part of the population in history came out from the microorganisms that are now considered as simple and old-fashioned. Just to mention leprosy and plague and not to forget the famous Spanish flu. When Alexander Fleming discovered a penicillin, we have thought that bacteria will definitely give up on trying to reach and conquer us. Unfortunately, it is almost a century that we are given the powerful molecular weapon against microbes but we are not still progressed in the battlefield. The bacteria are always one-step further, developing perfect resistance each time we think we made it. Now we are talking about generations of antibiotics resistible microbes that are hunting people. The viruses are even more complicated in spite of fact they are so primitive organized forms of life. Antibiotics cannot stop their appetite for hosts and available cures and vaccines cannot cover all families of these organic destroyers. All we have in our hands is endless hope that they will get tired of hunting us and that they will be somehow gone or eaten up by Stephen King’s LANGOLIERS.

150129-ebola-blood-test-0-1478580561

The worst scenario ever, beside dangerous microorganism escaping from biohazard laboratory or being abused as biological weapon is dealing with awakening of old and forgotten germs that are ready to attack. The climate changes do not affect only our environmental habits and pulse but also our health perspective. The research studies that made scientists of the BBC Earth bring the real concern and it elaborates the possibilities of releasing the ancient viruses and bacteria from the melted permafrost soils: ”As the Earth warms, more permafrost will melt. Under normal circumstances, superficial permafrost layers about 50cm deep melt every summer. But now global warming is gradually exposing older permafrost layers. Frozen permafrost soil is the perfect place for bacteria to remain alive for very long periods of time, perhaps as long as a million years. That means melting ice could potentially open a Pandora’s Box of diseases.”

1402869-download-1494066829-895-640x480

The scientists have warned for years that the climate changes have so many malign impacts overall but in recent time, epidemiologists and climatologists scream about the difficult situation in the Arctic Circle where the temperature is rising so quickly, three times faster as in the rest of the world. That could unleash the microbes from ice and let them bite the human and animal population. The evolutionary biologist Jean-Michael Claverie at Aix-Marseille University in France stated:” Permafrost is a very good preserver of microbes and viruses, because it is cold, there is no oxygen, and it is dark. Pathogenic viruses that can infect humans or animals might be preserved in old permafrost layers, including some that have caused global epidemics in the past.”

p051x6sk

Based on the medical evidences, at the beginning of 20th century, more than a million reindeer died from anthrax and they have been buried very close to the surface in northern Russia. The spectacular case of 12-year-old boy that died from the infection of anthrax in 2016, in the area of Yamal Peninsula in the Arctic Circle confirms that the microbes has been brought to life after the frozen carcass had been melted during the terrible heat. The main question is not if the frozen germs will be melted but when and how that will hit our reality?

imagesOK8I5F88

The victims of Spanish flu, Smallpox and bubonic plague are all buried in Alaska’s tundra or Siberia and with the acceleration of climate changes; it could be very soon that we experience the renaissance of some of the worst diseases ever. It is enough scary to imagine that Smallpox virus is back. The half of the world’s population is not resistible at all since the immunization is not anymore recommended. The virus was wiped out in the late 1970s and only Russian and American biohazard laboratories keep samples for advanced medical research. Nevertheless, the virus is still on the Earth, at least its DNA. The researchers from the State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology in Novosibirsk have tested the discovered remains of the people from Stone Age in southern Siberia, area of Gorny Altai. They have also studied the samples from the men who died during the Smallpox epidemics in the 19th century. The both cases have the presence of DNA fragments of sinister Smallpox virus. What does it actually mean? The virus could survive in all conditions since it obtain the phase of hibernation, waiting for a right moment to get alive.

zombie-anthrax-outbreak-stokes-fears-about-other-deadly-diseases-lying-dormant-under-the-arctic-circles-melting-ice-1471359433

The bacteria Carnobacterium pleistocenium has been frozen for more than 32,000 years and in 2005, NASA experts revived it successfully in Alaska. In Antarctica, an 8-million-year-old bacterium has been revived too with no problem related to the period of inactivity.

anthrax-siberia

The special kinds of bacteria that rely on their own protecting spores can always defeat the long period of passive existence. The fungi and some viruses can also remain active within their inactive behavior. Pithovirus sibericum and Mollivirus sibericum are both giant viruses that have been brought to life by scientists that have studied the natural resistance of the awakened microbes. Many of them are very strong even if they arent harmful for the people. They had to develop the concept of survival and to fight to exist, so far away from light, warmth and positive microbe habitat. Stuck in the darkness of some caves or frozen for centuries, the germs generated specific methods of ultimate survival. In the hard competitive environments, the microbes are trying to win in the game of life and death. They have so many rivals and some of them attack microbes with the natural antibiotics weapon. Alexander Fleming did not really invent the cure as he observed the natural war between competitors in petri dish. The bacteria simply did not manage to escape from dangerous antibiotic-excreting mold and that was a highlight for a humankind. The penicillin has been born but the joy was not promised. The microbes have found a way to survive between the cracks of logic, shaping their future of revenge.

imagesG621QCFZ

The horrible picture of the frozen areas that are melting due to the climate mutations is enough disturbing. If we add to it the epidemic risks and challenges, it is almost an urgent need to implement counter climate changes policy and effective strategies. The microbes have never been stronger as they are now and it is to be expected that many of them will find their way to hosts and open the hunting season. Some of them, like Smallpox virus, have a potential to cause the new biological apocalypse and some could be totally unknown and new to us, sent from hell of the Earth organic genesis. It will be a ruthless war and it is obvious that stealth armies will be winners if we do not stop our collective invasion on nature, our demolition of Earth and our ignorance related to the climate transformation. We have to accept responsibility or to deal with the awareness that our end is coming.

frozen-siberian-lake_jpg_600x315_q80_crop-smart

 

 

2 thoughts on “BENEATH THE ICE: ANCIENT MICROBES LURK IN THE DARKNESS

  1. What a critical topic, Sarah ! Thank you for bringing this extremely important subject to light !

    The ignorance of mankind is only surpassed by its cruelty to animals ! When will “humans” ever learn that they are not as smart as they think they are, and that they are not invincible ?!

    The reality of climate change is scientifically irrefutable, and only the ignorant among us are so credulous and naive as to believe that there is no climate change !

    To elaborate on climate change, the celerity at which carbon dioxide is released in the air is mind boggling and staggering ! Carbon dioxide is released in our air as a result of “human” greed and selfishness because “humans” are responsible for deforestation, extreme animal farming, and exaggerated manufacturing, all of which emit millions of tons of carbon dioxide in our air !

    Hence, the birth of global warming is upon us ! The time to act is now ! Or else it will be too late !

    In conclusion, it’s time for “humans” to set their selfishness and greed aside, and to start working together to solve this imminent cataclysm ! This is so remindful of your article “The humans were here” !

    Thank you, Sarah, for being such a conscientious and excellent researcher and writer !

    Like

  2. Sarah’s imperative and invaluable article articulates the impending probability of planetary-wide pathogens being released from thawing glaciers, etc., via climate change: the absence of logic and common sense among the majority of Homo sapiens being the root cause (e.g. unrestrained and unregulated globalization).

    The possible existence of unseen microbial life was suspected from ancient times; such as in Jain scriptures from areas of Indian, in the 6th-century BCE, and the 1st-century BCE treatise entitled ‘On Agriculture’ by Marcus Terentius Varro. Microbiology (i.e. the scientific study of microorganisms) commenced with the observation of them under the microscope in the 1670s by Antonie van Leeuwenhoek. In the 1850s, Louis Pasteur found that microorganisms caused food spoilage; which denounced the the theory of spontaneous generation. In the 1880s, Robert Koch discovered that microorganisms caused the diseases tuberculosis, cholera and anthrax.

    Microorganisms live in almost every habitat from the poles to The Equator, deserts, geysers, rocks and the deepest regions of the oceans. Some are adapted to extremes (e.g. very hot or very cold conditions, and others to high pressure): a few can assimilate to high radiation environments (e.g. Deinococcus radiodurans). Microorganisms make up the microbiota found in and on all multicellular organisms; including humans.

    Microbes are invaluable in the context human organic survival on planet Earth; such as treating sewage, producing enzymes and other bioactive compounds. They are a vital component of fertile soils. In the human body, microorganisms make up the human microbiota; including the essential gut flora. They are the pathogens responsible for many infectious diseases.

    The War of the Worlds (1897) is a Science Fiction novel by English author H. G. Wells, who trained as a Science teacher during the latter half of the 1880s. He later taught Science, and his first book was a biology textbook. Microorganism are the entity that defeat the aliens in The War of the Worlds, eventually; their immunity systems unaccustomed to specific pathogens on Earth.

    These scientific ideas combined to present the possibility that planets are alike in composition and conditions for the development of species, which would likely lead to the emergence of life at a suitable geological age in a planet’s development.

    Transmission of pathogens occurs through many different routes; including airborne, direct or indirect contact, sexual contact, through blood, breast milk or other body fluids, and through the fecal-oral route.

    The surface of the Earth is changing, and it is probable that the planet with survive humanity and continue to evolve. What might emerge (i.e. microorganisms) in the following millennia is interesting…

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

About Sarahowlgirl1982

I am a master of Political Sciences, with special focus on Security Studies, Islamic Counter Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction. I enjoy discovering and commenting things which are " in the air" but still not spoken.I also do like science writing and planing to move myself into the pure science journalism !