As Quayle noted in an SQnote he left on that story, we're now witnessing a deadly brew being concocted: THIS IS A GROWING MEME, OR THEME, THAT IS HEADLINING ON AN ACCELERATED BASIS - ADD IN RADIOACTIVITY AND YOU'VE GOT THE WORST CASE SCENARIO.
As Mac Slavo over at SHTFPlan reported back on May 5th, some scientists actually believe deadly ancient pathogens melting out of long-frozen ice in the Arctic could wipe out the human population. Not an apocalyptic movie scenario but a very real, worst case scenario in the minds of some, Slavo points out its not just a coincidence that Russia exploded upon the Arctic region, deploying bio-warfare teams to the Arctic in no time at all. And as we learn below, Russia has since 'owned' the Arctic at a time when global tensions are still rising. First, from Inhabitat:
Researchers think the anthrax came from a reindeer that died more than 75 years ago and was trapped under permafrost, but when that permafrost thawed in a 2016 heat wave, the anthrax was released. And researchers fear this may not be the last time such an event occurs.
Jean-Michel Claverie, an evolutionary biologist at France’s Aix-Marseille University, told the BBC, “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.”
Over a million reindeer perished due to anthrax in the early 20th century. Most of their carcasses rest near the surface in 7,000 burial grounds in Russia. But even more than the anthrax, researchers fear other diseases that might be lurking in the permafrost. Scientists found pieces of RNA from the Spanish flu in bodies buried in the Alaskan tundra in mass graves. They think the bubonic plague and smallpox could hide in Siberian permafrost.
Claverie says there’s a non-zero probability dormant microbes could come back to life and harm us. He told the BBC, “How likely that is is not known, but it’s a possibility. It could be bacteria that are curable with antibiotics, or resistant bacteria, or a virus. If the pathogen hasn’t been in contact with humans for a long time, then our immune system would not be prepared.”
The Russian military has reportedly sent biological warfare teams to the Russian arctic in northern Siberia after at least 40 people and 1,200 reindeer died as the result of a violent and rapid spread of what is believed to be Bacillus Anthracis, more commonly known as Anthrax.
Russian officials said the infection may have started after a contaminated corpse was exposed following a warm summer in the Arctic which saw temperatures rise as high as 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
There were dramatic scenes as the Russian army’s Chemical, Radioactive and Biological Protection Corps, equipped with masks and bio-warfare protective clothing, flew to to regional capital Salekhard on a military Il-76 aircraft to deal with the emergency.
They were deployed by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu to carry laboratory tests on the ground, detect and eliminate the focal point of the infection, and to dispose safely of dead animals.
Returning to this May 7th story from Slavo over at SHTFPlan we see why there is such a great concern over Russia dominating the Arctic region at a time when deadly pathogens are emerging. And while we'd like to believe that the Russian's won't do anything to cause a global plague, who knows who might be able to get their hands on something that could bring back the Spanish flu or other deadly disease already responsible for the deaths of millions. From Slavo:
As a recent report about a massive ice shelf breaking off the continent highlights, ice melt is happening with ever increasing frequency.
That means there is real potential for ancient viruses to do some serious damage to humans and animals.
Some of these viruses and bacteria may have been trapped for millennia, and it’s not even totally clear yet what they are, let alone what kind of damage they might cause.
Researchers have encountered complex “giant viruses” with as many as thousands of genes in the melting permafrost of Siberia.
Biological agents like the Spanish flu and plague have been responsible for the deaths of millions of people throughout history and experts say that, even with our advanced medical technologies, if the right virus were to come along it could do unprecedented damage.
We can only imagine that certain interested parties are salivating at the prospect of getting their hands on viruses so deadly that they may have caused mass extinction events in Earth’s history.
As BBC Earth asked in a story just days ago on May 4th, what would happen if we were suddenly exposed to deadly bacteria and viruses that have been absent for thousands of years, or that we have never met before? Reporting within their story that the battle we're now witnessing between man and disease is an endless back and forth going back an eternity, they also report scientists have great fears about what may still lay beneath the ice.
Throughout history, humans have existed side-by-side with bacteria and viruses. From the bubonic plague to smallpox, we have evolved to resist them, and in response they have developed new ways of infecting us.
We have had antibiotics for almost a century, ever since Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin. In response, bacteria have responded by evolving antibiotic resistance. The battle is endless: because we spend so much time with pathogens, we sometimes develop a kind of natural stalemate.
However, what would happen if we were suddenly exposed to deadly bacteria and viruses that have been absent for thousands of years, or that we have never met before? We may be about to find out. Climate change is melting permafrost soils that have been frozen for thousands of years, and as the soils melt they are releasing ancient viruses and bacteria that, having lain dormant, are springing back to life. As they also report, a huge part of the battle is the nature of the beast itself. Permafrost has been known to keep pathogens and deadly diseases alive for centuries. Buried along with the bodies of those who died from plagues and mass outbreaks of disease, 'death' often lives on long after it extinguishes life. The final video below looks at possible ramifications of that apocalyptic scenario.
However, the big fear is what else is lurking beneath the frozen soil.
People and animals have been buried in permafrost for centuries, so it is conceivable that other infectious agents could be unleashed. For instance, scientists have discovered fragments of RNA from the 1918 Spanish flu virus in corpses buried in mass graves in Alaska's tundra. Smallpox and the bubonic plague are also likely buried in Siberia.
In a 2011 study, Boris Revich and Marina Podolnaya wrote: "As a consequence of permafrost melting, the vectors of deadly infections of the 18th and 19th Centuries may come back, especially near the cemeteries where the victims of these infections were buried."