Zombie "Virus" Theorem

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

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Zombie "Virus" Theorem

Post by Alex2308 » Sun Oct 05, 2014 3:06 pm

What if you'd mix toxoplasma gondiis ability to alter human behavior and the cordyceps that feeds on ants?
add pheromone production to the cordyceps so the infected don't feed on each other or attack each other untill the last stage is over.
now a few questions: could the cordyceps produce enough energy to power a human body? If not what do they eat? What stages do they go through?

i have only a few answers.

at first let's talk about the stages: 1) infected but not "sick", transformation hass not finished
2) It's a well known zombie. Tries to bite you and maybe eat you but you can't tell. gets more and more overgrown by the cordyceps which results in worse movement
and maybe loss of the sences like hearing and seeing.
3) Now you're no longer needed and the cordyceps wants to spread it's seeds and growth them while you're dead and lieing somewhere or it growth them and then
decides to "burst" and you'll just be killedby a chemical cocktail or maybe lay down in a corner or climb on a roof.

such a cordyceps won't be created by mother nature in the nearer future so it would need to be man made. But who wants to become a zombie? Noone, everyone wants to be a survivor, right guys?
So the creator must build in a spread stopping mechanism. This would work best like if the infected does not smell a human it won't "burst". so the spores would wait for someone stupid enough to release them again (maybe by stepping on them).

Now the most important point to make it work. What does the cordyceps to our brain? how does it alter our behavior and how much is destroyed by it? Best would be if it would only take control by leaving basics to just play them like you'd play a song or an engeneer would play a robotic programm part. It should leave the knowledge of how to run and sso on but decide when you do so. it surely won't be able to talk (would be creepy as hell) or write but maybe use stick weapons if it's a really smart cordyceps.

With the stop-mechanism applied it wouldn't extinguish humanity but the creator could still be infected. That's what he has to avoid because he wants to see the world burn or whitness a zombie apocalypse (like most of you wierd guys :P ). So he needs a vaccine which he uses before he starts the apocalypse and he'd need to test it because he wants to use it on himself/his team only so he can survive it easier. so he needs both the fungi and the vaccine ready before hand.

Now he has the cordyceps he created ready and is immune to it and is almost done. The only thing left to do for him is gather supplies and spread the fungi. But how could he do that? Just catch a few victims and infect them and wait till they burst (maybe he has some left from vaccine tests).

So he started the apocalypse and is immune to the infection but still can be killed but had time to prepare so he is well armed and armored.

I think you know the only thing i didn't mention till now: the incubation time. it can't be years because hecouldn't want to wait that long espescially because he had to create the crdyceps and that would take some years of studying so let's say he's no evil genius but a normal guy. then he'd have to learn for at least ten years till he starts creating the cordyceps and maybe takes him 2 years to finish it. Let's say he started at the very young age of 16 so then he'd be 28 years old (I don't think you'd be able to enjoy a zombie apocalypse if you're to old either so he has to start when he's least 30 years old).

if someone played "the last of us" he'll notice that it's really similar but i just tried to be more scientific.

just comment on my theory if you have a question or want to discuss or talk a bit.

greetings Alex

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Re: Zombie "Virus" Theorem

Post by bustead » Wed Oct 08, 2014 11:40 am

It is always good to see another scientist-to-be here! BTW I have replied your message.


Ok first off you are right about one thing, this pathogen cannot be natural-occurring so we have to make our own if we want to.
Firstly you will have to sequence Toxoplasma gondii genome. To do that you need some expensive and delicate machines in the lab or just skip that part and take a look in the genetic data base. I am not quite sure if anyone have done it yet but if you happen to be studying/working in a college or a research institution (like CDC) you will be able to sequence it in a few months or even a few weeks. Then do the same for the cordyceps. (I believe a few Chinese scientists have done the sequencing http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3334602/)
After obtaining the genome sequence, it is going to be a trial and error time. Basically you cut the specific parts of the gene out (with a suitable restriction enzyme) and then you will have to synthesize a RNA strand out of it (ie transcription) and mix it with a virus (not a pathogen, just a carrier of the RNA). Then infect cordyceps cells with the virus so that the section of the gene you cutted earlier will be inserted into cordyceps cells. Then test the cordyceps to see if it has the desired property (in this case it will be mind controlling properties from Toxoplasma gondii) by injecting it into a mice(if you are evil enough or if you are working in some sort of evil government lab you will be doing it on living humans). Repeat until you are sure which part of the gene will turn the fungus into a mind-controlling pathogen.

However this doesn't solve one critical problem. Fungus are very vulnerable to UV and heat. In fact cordyceps are confined to moist and dark environments like dense jungle or swamps. Also we humans have a (relatively) sophisticated immune system that cordyceps will have a hard time punching through. In fact most known Pathogenic fungus (apart from the rare Cryptococcus gattii which is not contagious from person to person) can only infect people with a weakened immune system (eg AIDS patient.) and cordyceps, being a insect pathogen instead of a human pathogen, will have an even harder time in adopting the human system so it will be very hard to create a strain of cordyceps that can infect normal humans. Even if it can make its way through the brain-blood barrier and all the way into the (in its perspective) unfamiliar CNS, a certain type of white blood cell (T lymphocytes) can still defeat it by triggering immune response.

It will be better if you do it with Toxoplasma gondii instead. Since it is known to infect humans, you can first investigate what kind of hormones is excessively secreted in a extremely violent schizophrenia patient (or which part of the patient's brain is damaged) and programme the pathogen into attacking the brain via damaging it directly or by changing hormonal secretion.
PS I am too tired to continue for now. I will type the remaining stuff tmr

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