Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Neighborhoods
  3. Places & Faces

Giant virus discovered in Siberia is 30,000 years old

See also

A giant virus discovered in Siberia is reportedly more than 30,000 years old. CNN reports that researchers named the virus Pithovirus sibericum and stated that it is harmless to people.

Researchers from institutions in France and Russia published an abstract about the giant virus in the U.S. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The virus reportedly infects amoebas, not humans or animals and hails from a period when creatures like the wooly mammoth and saber-tooth cats roamed the earth.

Sex superbug: Is rare strain of STD gonorrhea back in the US?

A press release issued on March 3, 2014 states that the discovery of Pithovirus "shows how incomplete our understanding of microscopic biodiversity is when it comes to exploring new environments."

Jean-Michel Claverie, co-authors of the study states, "This is an indication that viruses pathogenic for human or animals might also be preserved in old permafrost layers, including some that have caused planet-wide epidemics in the past."

Researchers indicate that the discovery of the giant virus may indicate that dangerous germs might emerge in the future "as permafrost thaws because of global warming or mineral exploration." Taking samples of the permafrost to search for ancient viruses may help scientists keep tabs on this potential threat.

Study co-author Jean-Michel Claverie told MSN in an email, "Those pathogens could be banal bacteria (curable with antibiotics) or resistant bacteria or nasty viruses. If they have been extinct for a long time, then our immune system is no longer prepared to respond to them.

Read the entire study here on See the press release about the virus here.



  • Tom Petty
    Seven overlooked videos that prove the genius of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
    Today's Buzz
  • Gaylord Pickens
    Discover Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum dollar days
    6 Photos
  • Yoga poses
    Learn how to strengthen your core muscles with these yoga poses
    5 Photos
  • Baby boomer STD rates
    Sexually transmitted diseases: Baby boomers booming STD rates
    7 Photos
  • Open relationships
    Are you thinking about exercising your option to be in an open relationship?
    5 Photos
  • Medical symptoms
    See which symptoms should cause you to seek a doctor’s attention right away
    6 Photos

Related Videos:

  • Aerial view of Chicago
    <div class="video-info" data-id="517635370" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>
  • Bella Donna - Stevie Nicks Tribute
    <iframe width="600" height="337" src="//;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>
  • Glorious is a livetronica drummer, Pop/R&B singer and producer performing at Bridging The Music in Baltimore,
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>