If you’ve followed along here at Blank Stares and Blank Pages for any amount of time, you’re probably well-aware that my favorite book of all-time is The Stand by Stephen King.
Basically the book is about a government created super-flu that is accidentally released and kills off the bulk of the world population. The book then follows some of the survivors and their efforts to rebuild after the super-flu (aka: Captain Trips) epidemic.
Ron Fouchier, a researcher at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands has created a new strain of the flu virus, which is engineered to spread easily and quickly and is so lethal it could kill billions of people.
“I cannot think of a pathogenic organism to be more dangerous than this one”, commented Paul Keim, a specialist in microbial genetics who worked for many years with the anthrax bacillus. “I think the anthrax is not at all scary, when compared with this virus.”
Oh yeah, and the dude who cooked up the super-flu wants to publish a paper saying how he did it.
Needless to say there are some peeps out there who’d like to put the kibosh on this thing before it ever gets out:
“It’s just a bad idea for scientists to turn a lethal virus into a lethal and highly contagious virus. And it’s a second bad idea for them to publish how they did it so others can copy it,” believes Dr. Thomas Inglesby, a bioterrorism expert.
I’ve got no idea why this dude thought it was going to be a good idea to mess around with the bird flu and turn it into some sort of super-flu (heretofore referred to as “Captain Trips 2k11”). The ZME Science article states that since the bird flu showed up a decade ago there have only been 600 reported cases and statistically people have a higher chance of getting killed by a falling coconut bopping ‘em on the noggin’.
That’s a good thing. That’s a very good thing.
Especially since so very few of us live around coconut trees.
Why mess up a good thing?
Anyway, if you read further in the articles you’ll see that Captain Trips 2k11 has the potential to be some serious shit, especially if used for bioterrorism. The strain has proven fatal in more than half of the infected patients thus far and has the potential—via mutation—to become airborne. At which point pretty much everyone is f’d.
So, uh, there’s that?!
Personally, I think Lindsay Lohan is to blame for all of this. I can only assume the original enzymes to create something like this were housed inside her the entire time, but proving that would require drastically more dangerous research and further exposure to Lohan.
Neither of which is a risk worth taking.
Alrighty, My Faithful Readers, time to weigh in.
Is this the end of the world as we know it?
Or am I just a big, nerdy fanboy for The Stand who is geeking out over the similarities?