Science Behind The Infection

Topics regarding the study of zombie behavior and physiology. Know your enemy.

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GJStevens
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Science Behind The Infection

Post by GJStevens » Sat May 11, 2019 6:29 am

Hi all,

I'm writing the second novel in my IN THE END zombie apocalypse series and I'd like to beta test my explanation for the zombie apocalypse as one of my beta readers has called my original in to doubt. In the first book I didn't need to go into detail about the cause of the infection which leads to people being turned into zombies because it was all about how an everyday group of people experienced the events. The only explanation that was given, and must remain in the second novel for constancy, is a fairly well trodden path of a new species of the Ophiocordyceps genus fungus, the one that creates the zombie ants in the real world.

Now, of course zombies are not real and there in no actual scientific way to explain this properly, but I at least don't want any glaring holes in my explanation that an average Joe will see right through or think is lame.

My updated explanation is as follows:

- The strain was discovered in the Amazon (rainforest not in a brown box with black writing on)
- Found to be promising at treating a wide range of influenza and brought back to various countries for investigation
- During the experiments, which were going on around the world, the influenza virus infected the fungus and when the fungus fruited, delivering the spores, it caused the mutation of the influenza virus which infects live humans through a bite. When the people die they become zombie.
- A side effect of the virus is that it works to prevent blood clotting so people tend to die from blood loss, and then the zombie process starts (this part has to stay)

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks

G

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Stercutus
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Re: Science Behind The Infection

Post by Stercutus » Sat May 11, 2019 7:37 am

Just curious, if it is Influenza based why is it not airborne?
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd—
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother

GJStevens
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Re: Science Behind The Infection

Post by GJStevens » Sat May 11, 2019 8:09 am

A good question. I think it's reasonable to say that it can be airborne, and there is a case that this did happen in book one. However it does not effect someone living as such. It is the bite that does not heal which kills the host through blood loss, then the zombification occurs.

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Stercutus
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Re: Science Behind The Infection

Post by Stercutus » Sat May 11, 2019 4:45 pm

I see, that was one of the S2 discussions for TWD. "Everyone" was infected already which is why they rose after being killed. It was implied but never explicitly stated that there was an airborne component to the Z-Virus that allowed it to spread so easily and caused the flu outbreak that triggered the ZPAW.

Because biting alone is such a weak transmission vector, biting alone would never on it's own be enough to cause a total collapse. But with everyone who dies turns in to a Zombie this changes things dramatically, especially if people are dying in record numbers from a rampant untreatable flu.

Romero took it a step further and brought the long deceased back to animation status although you could argue the effectiveness of this as those long dead would mostly have been decomposed badly or treated post mortem in such a way that their bodies would be worthless and not a threat.
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd—
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother

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MacWa77ace
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Favorite Zombie Movies: The Omega Man, I Am Legend, Dawn of the Dead v1974.
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Re: Science Behind The Infection

Post by MacWa77ace » Thu May 16, 2019 2:44 pm

GJStevens wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 6:29 am
the influenza virus infected the fungus and when the fungus fruited, delivering the spores, it caused the mutation of the influenza virus which infects live humans through a bite. When the people die they become zombie.
- A side effect of the virus is that it works to prevent blood clotting so people tend to die from blood loss, and then the zombie process starts (this part has to stay)

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks

G
I think you're missing a couple steps in the viral life-cycle. How does a mutated virus, inside the spores, get into humans in the first place so they can then bite someone to spread it?

Influenza virus infects fungus.
Fungus fruits and ejects spores mutating the Virus. [the virus is encased in the spores, that's how spores work]
[Missing life-cycle steps]*
...turning the human host into a Zombie.
The 'Infected Zombie' bite further spreads the disease.
Zombie bites are fatal in _______ hours/days because they __________.

Unless, are we are thinking Prometheus type spores that are actively 'swimming through the air and diving' into humans' bloodstreams to infect them then? Because then there would be at least two modes of infection turning people, direct and human on human bites. But if not...
We must be thinking that after the virus enters the spore it lays dormant until the next step in its life-cycle, which is ________ . Because when the virus reproduces inside the spore it escapes its host cell by overloading and exploding it from within, then enters another nearby healthy cell to reproduce itself. Another spore? Probably not because they are few and far between. And where would the spore be when the virus escapes its host, on a rock? So we need human or plant cells not spore cells for the real viral reproduction.

*Examples for missing life-cycle steps
Spores land on plants and are eaten by fauna eating those plants, they enter their bloodstream thru ulcers in their digestive tracts, the warmth of mammal's blood awakens the virus, it reproduces and explodes out of spore, then finding its way thru the bloodstream to its favorite cell type within the body. These infected Fauna are eaten by mosquitoes who bite humans transmitting the virus. Or
Spores need to land on a particular human food staple to reproduce themselves [a suitable growth medium], humans eat infected staple, spores enter bloodstream thru ulcers. Or
etc.

In any of these steps the virus doesn't kill the host or even make it sick unto death, maybe a little fever or diarrhea or rash as a short term symptom. Soon everyone is infected. The insidious virus waits for the host to die of any cause, at which point it reanimates the host via __________ [insert complicated medical process here].


MacRRMartin-Tolkien

GJStevens
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Joined: Thu May 09, 2019 1:05 am

Re: Science Behind The Infection

Post by GJStevens » Thu May 16, 2019 3:00 pm

Thank you Mac, that’s awesome. I don’t intend to go into that level of detail but you’ve certainly given me food for thought on the missing steps. Thank you!

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