Could ancient viruses from melting permafrost cause the next pandemic?

Melting permafrost in Russia’s Yamal peninsula (pictured) has exposed nomadic reindeer herders (below) to anthrax

Elena Shchipkova/Alamy

IN NOVEMBER 2019, the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine held a workshop to discuss an emerging disease threat. Not covid-19: they were a couple of months too early for that. Instead, they were trying to figure out what to do about microorganisms trapped in glaciers, ice sheets and permafrost, which will be released as the world warms and the ice thaws.

During the meeting, Alexander Volkovitskiy from the Russian Academy of…


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