A 48,500-year-old virus has been revived from Siberian permafrost


Seven viruses from the Siberian permafrost have been revived and replicated themselves in the lab – including the oldest revived so far


23 November 2022

Permafrost in Alaska

As permafrost thaws, it will release carbon and potentially also long-dormant ancient viruses

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Charles Miller

Seven types of viruses that have lain frozen in the Siberian permafrost for thousands of years have been revived. The youngest were frozen for 27,000 years, while the oldest was on ice for 48,500 years – making it the most ancient virus resuscitated so far.

“48,500 years is a world record,” says Jean-Michel Claverie at Aix-Marseille University in France, who did the work with his colleagues. His team has previously revived two 30,000-year-old viruses


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