The world is still struggling to come to terms with the Corona Virus Pandemic. We are still unsure about a collective practical response of how to deal with pandemics like these. Everybody knew that the Virus was on the rise in China. Yet no country took effective measures that prevented the virus from entering their borders.
And experts are warning about even more deadlier future pandemics. The world needs to be prepared for that. But as the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. So, is there a way we can prevent the emergence of future pandemic?
Of course, we can do a lot to limit the spread of viruses in the future. For instance,
- Immediate and complete isolation of the places where virus makes its first appearance.
- Compulsory time bound quarantine of people entering a country immediately on arrival, no matter where they come from.
We can also do a lot to prevent the rise of new viruses by taking additional measures. For instance, banning wet markets like the ones in China that are efficient playgrounds for viruses to test their mutations and make the jumps from animals to humans.
But what about the rise of Old Viruses or Bacteria? Ancient viruses and bacteria that might have wiped out human populations in the past. Can they resurface and repeat past havoc they caused? Should we be worried about ancient microbes? A recent study says, YES.
Deadly microbes of the ancient past may come back to haunt us in the near future.
The Rising Pollution Levels worldwide can resurrect Deadly Microbes of the Past
The curse of Mummy of the ancient Egypt might as well be deadly ancient microbes. But, it is also possible that ancient Viruses and bacteria can make a come back to the modern world, thanks to rising pollution levels!
A 12 year old boy died in the remote areas of Northern Russia in 2016 due to Anthrax. Around 20 more people were hospitalized due to Anthrax. Further investigations revealed that, the deadly anthrax bacteria spread from reindeer to humans.
The reindeers were infected from the anthrax bacteria that lay hidden under the ice for over 75 years! The rising global temperature caused the ice to melt. This exposed the reindeers to the ancient anthrax bacteria. From there it made the jump to humans who came in contact with those infected reindeers!
Ancient Killer Microbes lie hidden below the Permafrost
Permafrost is any soil or ground that is covered by ice for years together. So any piece of land that is at or below 0 °C because of the ice sheets above it becomes permafrost. Most microbes in such soil continue to be in dormant state due to the cold weather.
In other words, the frozen ground acts as a refrigerator preserving these microbes for centuries together. And it is very much possible that ancient killer microbes that wiped out significant portion of humanity in the past might still be lurking somewhere beneath these ice sheets.
Pollution resurrects killer microbes of the past
Everybody is aware of the fact that rising pollution levels are causing ice sheets to melt worldwide, like in Greenland, Poles, Mountain Tops, Arctic, Alaska, Antarctica, Siberia, Northern Russia, etc.
So far, the biggest concern was that these melting ice sheets can cause significant rise in sea levels, there by permanently submerging a large number of islands, island nations, coastline cities, etc. This would further reduce the available land for an ever rising human population.
But, an equally bigger concern, and the one that requires even more immediate attention, given the current corona pandemic, is the rise of ancient killer infectious agents. The melting ice is exposing the land beneath the permafrost. As more and more of this ancient land comes in contact with the modern world, the more are the chances of some ancient killer microbe rising out of its deep sleep and unleashing another terror pandemic on planet Earth.
Pollution opens the ancient Pandora Box of deadly microbes
Permafrost acts as a preserver of infectious agents like bacteria and virus because the soil there is cold, dark and lacks oxygen. Allowing pollution to increase means, allowing the ice shielding us from these microbes to melt. This is nothing but opening the Pandora box of ancient deadly microbes. Similar to the opening of the ancient Pyramid that shielded the world from that cursed mummy.
So every time we as an individual, as a society, as a country – contribute to pollution, do not take steps to counter pollution, facilitate actions that promote pollution – we are taking another additional step in inviting ancient killer microbes from the past to enter into our modern homes and society.
Corona Pandemic is a mild warning
These ancient viruses and bacteria might be so deadly that the current Corona Virus pandemic might look like a simple warning – a trailer. We, the human society, collectively can choose to ignore this warning only at our own risk. The very low mortality rate of Corona can only mean that it is a definite warning for what lies ahead of us in the future.
A deadly cocktail of all human actions and inactions – pollution, deforestation, exploitation of nature and natural resources – when clubbed with natural reactions – all resulting in pandemic, tsunamis, flooding, droughts, extreme weather, toxic air, water and land – only mean a definitive collapse of social order, health and ultimately the very existence of human species on Earth.
We can only hope that we will consider the Corona Pandemic as a wake up call and act accordingly in the future to restore natural order and normalcy on planet Earth.
After all, the reason we have not met any aliens so far is probably because most extraterrestrial intelligent life fails and exterminates itself due to actions like wars, over exploitation of natural resources or pollution of its home planet. Can Homo Sapiens prove to be different? Let us hope so and act accordingly.