Last month, researchers announced they were studying a 30,000-year-old giant virus called Mollivirus sibericum that they found in melted Siberian permafrost. The virus was functional and able to infect amoeba… But it was this most recently discovered virus which prompted several outlets to suggest that once it thawed out, it could escape and make lots of people sick.
Seems plausible, especially for a made-for-TV-movie. Carl Zimmer:
These particular viruses infect amoeba. So if you’re an amoeba, yeah you should be really scared. There are no human pathogens that have burst out of the Siberian permafrost. That’s not to say that viruses won’t emerge, but there are so many viruses circulating in living animals, I think we should put these frozen viruses very low on our list of concerns.
Uh huh. Sure.