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 Post subject: Prions
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:38 pm 
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As I understand that the current consensus is that a Zombie plague would most likely be the result of a virus, I would like to point out that a prion may be more of a possible Z plague. A prion for those whom do not know, is a misfolded protien that has the ability to replicate. It also has the ability to pass the blood brain barrier much more easily than an virus and definately moreso than a bacterium. A prion is what caused the "mad cow" epidemic and has been shown to cause a disease known as "Creutzfeldt–Jakob". The behavior of prions tend to be brain based affecting the neurological activity related to motor coordination as well as higher thought processes, (not limited to the reasoning or executive functions of the brain).
Forgive the quote but to illustrate the danger of transmission "Current research suggests that the primary method of infection in animals is through ingestion. It is thought that prions may be deposited in the environment through the remains of dead animals and via urine, saliva, and other body fluids. They may then linger in the soil by binding to clay and other minerals.[56]

A University of California research team, led by Nobel Prize winner Stanley Prusiner, has provided evidence for the theory that infection can occur from prions in manure.[57] And since manure is present in many areas surrounding water reservoirs, as well as used on many crop fields, it raises the possibility of widespread transmission. It was reported in January 2011 that researchers had discovered prions spreading through airborne transmission on aerosol particles, in an animal testing experiment focusing on scrapie infection in laboratory mice.[58] Preliminary evidence supporting the notion that prions can be transmitted through use of urine-derived human menopausal gonadotropin, administered for the treatment of infertility, was published in 2011.[59]" (Prion-wikipedia)

Doesn't this seem to validate the concept of a pathogen like a prion to be a better deliverer of a Z-type outbreak? Granted it may move slower than a virus, but it could infect more people without being known or discovered until it is too late. And there is no known cure. If this has been debated or covered in another forum, then please excuse me, I am a newbie at forum usage.


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 Post subject: Re: Prions
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:45 pm 
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Been said already, like years ago, not a new idea, sorry.

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 Post subject: Re: Prions
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:57 pm 
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Thank you. This was a new discovery for me. It kind of scared me because I understand the dynamics of it.


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 Post subject: Re: Prions
PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 12:09 am 
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They do seem a scary vector, even for non zombificating diseases. I think I read disinfecting generally is useless against them, or almost so, very tough little bugs.


Oh!... Welcome to the forum!!

Maybe stop over in the intro section and post up.

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 Post subject: Re: Prions
PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:41 am 
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Prions aren't bugs, so disinfecting is useless. It's been a couple years since I did any reading on them, but last I knew, the only thing that would destroy prions was heat, and lots of it. Like the kind of heat that you would need lots and lots of electricity to generate.

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 Post subject: Re: Prions
PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 7:00 am 
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I meant "bugs" the way you might say "I have the flu bug" while knowing the flu is not caused by an actual bug, but by a virus.

And yeah, I remember that regular autoclave decontamination was not considered good enough for prions...

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134 °C (274 °F) for 18 minutes in a pressurized steam autoclave may not be enough to deactivate the agent of disease...

The World Health Organization recommends any of the following three procedures for the sterilization of all heat-resistant surgical instruments to ensure that they are not contaminated with prions:
1.Immerse in a pan containing 1N NaOH and heat in a gravity-displacement autoclave at 121 °C for 30 minutes; clean; rinse in water; and then perform routine sterilization processes.
2.Immerse in 1N NaClO or sodium hypochlorite (20,000 parts per million available chlorine) for 1 hour; transfer instruments to water; heat in a gravity-displacement autoclave at 121 °C for 1 hour; clean; and then perform routine sterilization processes.
3.Immerse in 1N NaOH or sodium hypochlorite (20,000 parts per million available chlorine) for 1 hour; remove and rinse in water, then transfer to an open pan and heat in a gravity-displacement (121 °C) or in a porous-load (134 °C) autoclave for 1 hour; clean; and then perform routine sterilization processes.


But couldn't items be heated by a fire powered autoclave? Or some other non electrically generated way?

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 Post subject: Re: Prions
PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:12 pm 
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From what I read about the gravity-displacement autoclave, as well as reading up on the specs, it may be quite possible to build. And from what I have inferred from your previous statement, a version that would not use electricity (due to a cataclysmic event) could be developed provided you could create a strong enough pressure chamber and a solenoid type valve. In the post apocalyptical enviroment, you may be able to find one in an abandoned hospital. After all, most of the basic equipment will have been taken but more complex things like autoclaves would be there, at least until someone needs components. The only real problem would be what fuel would be available to heat the steam.


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 Post subject: Re: Prions
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:41 am 
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Steam is easy enough. the hard part is getting the hot steam from your boiler to the autoclave without something very bad (tm) happening.

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 Post subject: Re: Prions
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:55 am 
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Lybrion1 wrote:
As I understand that the current consensus is that a Zombie plague would most likely be the result of a virus, I would like to point out that a prion may be more of a possible Z plague.


Consensus among whom?

The Jonathan Maberry's Patient Zero (Joe Ledger series, book one) describes flesh-eating zombies infected by something related to Prions; it's a fun read.

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 Post subject: Re: Prions
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:15 am 
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Prions are nasty... Not only are they difficult to disinfect, but treatment in vivo is nearly useless. I read about some of the experimental treatments for vCJD - seems they tried using doxorubicin (with some very limited success). That stuff is really quite nasty (as are pretty much all anthracyclines), so if it was even considered, then probably most of the other options are out the window. (as a side note, though INADDC, I'm really not sure what the proposed mechanism of action is against prion disease - anthracyclines intercalate DNA strands, which is useless against something with no DNA. Maybe it has something to do with inhibition of topoisomerase II, or with generation of oxidizing radicals...)

I've often wondered about fungal zombies, too. I mean, Cordyceps pretty much creates zombie ants. And, to boot, fungi can be a bear to kill off both in and outside the body, too.

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