One of the many horrible aspects of our response to the COVID pandemic has been our failure to learn from our mistakes. From beginning to end we disregarded years of pandemic response planning, adopted mad Chinese Communist lockdown techniques, and placed our faith in unproven experimental vaccines…
Instead, we should be rapidly assimilating the lessons learned and making sure we do not repeat them. We are not. If there is another pandemic tomorrow, we are disturbingly likely to do the same self-destructive things we did before.
In terms of lessons learned, the first should probably be the danger of playing God and engaging in gain-of-function research. Any reasonable, objective person – by this point –understands that COVID-19 is not a naturally occurring disease. It is the product of gain of function research into coronaviruses.
Chinese scientists played around with that virus and purposely altered it to make it much more infectious to humans. Perhaps that was done with noble intentions or perhaps they did it as part of a biological weapons program.
Regardless, with help from Dr. Fauci, they succeeded. They took steps they knew were potentially disastrous for humankind and convinced themselves they could handle the danger to keep everyone safe. They were wrong and we have all paid a huge price for their ignorance and arrogance.
And now , it seems perhaps we may be getting ready to pay the price again.
Recently, an international team of “experts” thawed out what they claim to be the oldest virus ever resurrected. The scientists revived a 48,500-year-old virus.
The scientists in question did this despite the fact that tests in the laboratory have shown that the virus is still capable of infecting living cells. In fact, the scientists have now observed at least nine separate such “zombie” viruses and determined they are all still capable of infecting living beings.
The same team of research scientists have also previously revived two other 30,000-year-old viruses. Not to be outdone, other separate teams of scientists are also claiming to have revived active bacteria samples that are up to 250 million years old.
The danger posed by reviving these viruses and bacteria strains is well known.
“There is a real danger,” Jean-Michel Claverie, a member of the team that recently revived the 48,500-year-old virus said, adding that “there are bacteria and viruses coming out of the permasfrost every day.” However, it is impossible to precisely determine the level of potential danger so far, he added.
This danger is not simply theoretical. In 2016 an anthrax outbreak in Siberia was traced to an exposed reindeer carcass that emerged from melting permafrost.
The team of scientists working in Siberia is not unique. There have been teams all over the world for years working at extracting previously unknown viruses from the ice and permafrost in remote areas of the world. Last year, researchers at Ohio State University in the US announced they had found genetic material from 33 viruses – 28 of them novel – in ice samples taken from the Tibetan plateau in China. The viruses were estimated to be approximately 15,000 years old.
In 2014, scientists at France’s National Centre for Scientific Research in Aix-Marseille revived a virus they isolated from Siberian permafrost, making it infectious again for the first time in 30,000 years.
Permafrost preserves microbes extremely well because it is cold, devoid of oxygen, and dark. Scientists have discovered fragments of RNA from the 1918 Spanish flu virus in corpses buried in mass graves in the tundra of Alaska. They have also found burials of smallpox victims. This means that in addition to ancient diseases, we might yet face revivals of diseases we believe we have recently eradicated
When the scientists at Wuhan began to work with coronaviruses they opened Pandora’s box. Their arrogance and carelessness put the entire planet at risk. Those scientists now thawing out ancient diseases are doing precisely the same thing. What they unleash may be much more dangerous than COVID.
Living humans have no experience with the zombie viruses now being thawed out and studied. No one knows precisely how dangerous these organisms are. No one knows what immunity we may or may not have to the effects of these viruses and the even older bacteria now emerging.
The researchers doing the work in question will assure everyone of the precautions they are taking. They will claim that they are interested only in the beneficial aspects of their work. That does not change the fact that even with the best of intentions these scientists are only human. They are fallible. They make mistakes.
And, when they make a mistake and a deadly virus against which we have no defense is unleashed, it will be far too late to acquire the requisite humility. Scientists are thawing out ancient zombie viruses.
Hardly anything could go wrong with this plan. ✪