Communion Of Dreams


Right on time.
November 30, 2011, 5:01 pm
Filed under: Flu, Pandemic, Predictions, Science

From Communion of Dreams, Chapter Seventeen:

“Sorry.” She looked over at him, the dread in her eye replaced by something else. “The 1918 flu was recreated in the early part of this century, as there was a growing concern about Avian flu. The scientists at the time discovered that the prevailing form of Avian Flu, the H5N1 virus, was surprisingly related to the 1918 pandemic virus. Almost identical RNA structure, similar DNA.”

“But you say this one is different.”

“Yeah. Ignis was such a nasty bug because it spread by aerosol, but it also had a very short incubation period, just a couple of days. Then the disease itself was very swift, and victims died within hours of onset. Like it was all time-compressed, hyper-virulent. This is one of the reasons that people thought then, and still debate now, whether it was a weaponized version of Avian flu.”

From Science:

ROTTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS—Locked up in the bowels of the medical faculty building here and accessible to only a handful of scientists lies a man-made flu virus that could change world history if it were ever set free.

The virus is an H5N1 avian influenza strain that has been genetically altered and is now easily transmissible between ferrets, the animals that most closely mimic the human response to flu. Scientists believe it’s likely that the pathogen, if it emerged in nature or were released, would trigger an influenza pandemic, quite possibly with many millions of deaths.

In a 17th floor office in the same building, virologist Ron Fouchier of Erasmus Medical Center calmly explains why his team created what he says is “probably one of the most dangerous viruses you can make”—and why he wants to publish a paper describing how they did it. Fouchier is also bracing for a media storm. After he talked to ScienceInsider yesterday, he had an appointment with an institutional press officer to chart a communication strategy.

Remember, as noted on the ‘blurb’ on the CoD homepage:

Communion of Dreams is an “alternative future history” set in 2052 where the human race is still struggling to recover from a massive pandemic flu some 40 years previously.

Let’s see . . . 2052, minus 40 years . . .

Jim Downey

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