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Polar Icecaps May Hold Deadly Viruses, Scientists Say

A report in the New Scientist suggests that deadly prehistoric viruses may be embedded in polar icecaps and, if allowed into the atmosphere, could trigger epidemics. The report is based on the finding of a plant virus in the Greenland ice pack. The Syracuse University scientists who uncovered the plant virus believe that strains of influenza, polio, and smallpox could also be packed into the ice, and may released if the ice melts during a warm spell. The viruses found were able to retain their potency because tough protein coats enable long-term subsistence, even in difficult times.



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