As humanity comes to grips with the spread of COVID-19, researchers believe there are many more deadly pathogens which have been frozen in Earth’s ancient past in the Arctic ice. And as the planet continues to warm and the poles melt, some scientists have claimed the North Pole is a “time bomb” waiting to unleash more deadly diseases unto the world.The Parvati Foundation, which is an all-volunteer group which works to create MAPS, the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary, “for the sake of all life” has warned that as the ice in the Arctic melts, bacteria which the human immune system is not used to will be released.
The results could prove as catastrophic, potentially even more so, than the current coronavirus pandemic.
A statement from the Parvati Foundation said: “Our world has come to an unprecedented pause in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Doctors call it a ‘novel’ coronavirus, which means that it is new to our population and none of us has immunity to it.
“The cost in human lives and the widespread havoc it wreaks is consuming our news cycle.
“But what many of us don’t realize is that our world has a ticking time bomb of pathogens, all of which would be ‘novel’ to us, if released.
“For the sake of our collective future, we must keep them under ice.
“The Arctic Ocean does not only keep our planet cool through the albedo effect, when its white ice reflects the sun’s heat away from the planet.
“It keeps the local permafrost, with its payload of pathogens, frozen.
“Within the ice and permafrost of the Arctic region are bacteria and viruses that have been kept dormant for millennia.”
Parvati Foundation’s founder and CEO, Canadian musician and author Parvati, said: “COVID-19 is an urgent reminder of the ways we are all interconnected. What each of us does affects everyone else.
“We must heed the wake-up call to protect our collective future with MAPS now.”
Research published in January stated that a team of scientists from the US and China drilled 50 metres into a Tibetan glacier to gather samples of Earth’s oldest glacial ice.
By drilling 50 metres below the surface, researchers were able to collect samples of ice which offer a glimpse into Earth’s viral history.
The team uncovered 28 ancient viruses in the 15,000-year-old ice which were previously unknown to scientists.
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And the experts from The Ohio State University and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory believe that as the planet continues to warm leading to more ice melt, unknown viruses could thaw out and infect humanity.
The study published in the online journal bioRxiv read: “This study establishes ultra-clean microbial and viral sampling procedures for glacier ice, which complements prior in silico decontamination methods and expands, for the first time, the clean procedures to viruses.
“At a minimum, [ice melt] could lead to the loss of microbial and viral archives that could be diagnostic and informative of past Earth climate regimes.
“However, in a worst-case scenario, this ice melt could release pathogens into the environment.”
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