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Scientists In Russia To Analyse Pre-historic Viruses In Animals Dug From Melted Permafrost

A Siberia-based laboratory has announced that it will be launching research into prehistoric viruses. This will be done by analysing the remains of animals.


Russia is seeking to unlock unknown pre-historic viruses up to 50,000 years old by extracting biological material from carcasses of ancient animals recovered from melted permafrost. The Siberia-based lab on Tuesday announced said in a statement that the aim of the project was to identify paleoviruses and conduct advanced research into virus evolution. Scientists will take samples from a collection of specimens preserved in ice which have been found in recent years. They are working with the remains of extinct mammoths, rhinos, as well as prehistoric dogs, horses, elk, rodents. 

Study of viruses 

The research will analyse tissues extracted from a pre-historic horse believed to be at least 4,500 years old. In collaboration with North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk, Vektor said the remains were discovered in 2009 in Yakutia. This is a vast Siberian region where remains of palaeolithic animals are discovered regularly. Often, mammoths are also discovered in the region. 

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According to the reports, researchers further revealed that they will be also launching a probe into the remains of mammoths, elk, dogs, partridges, rodents, hares and other prehistoric animals. The head of the Mammoth Museum laboratory at North-Eastern Federal University, Maxim Cheprasov, in a press release said that the recovered animals have already been a part of bacterial studies. The same laboratory has developed Russia’s second coronavirus vaccine, EpiVacCorona. It has proved to be 100 per cent effective in early-stage trials, consumer health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor told TASS news agency. According to the Russian local media outlet, the data based on Phase I and II trials were released before the start of the Phase III trial. 

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However, Rospotrebnadzor reported that the effectiveness of the vaccine is made up of its immunological effectiveness and preventative effectiveness and the results of the initial two trials have shown the “immunological effectiveness of the EpiVacCorona vaccine to be 100%”. According to TASS media outlet, the phase I and II studies tested the safety, side effects and immunogenicity of the potential vaccine in 100 people aged 18-60. It is worth noting that Russia had begun the testing of EpiVacCorona.

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