Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mutation - Part Two

Thus far, in our examination of I Am Legend, we have established how viruses find opportunity for mutation, and what types of viruses are of interest to researchers for use as oncolytic adenoviruses targeted for cancer treatments. (If that sentence makes no sense to you, go to the Mutation - Part One blog entry, March 6. Or you can just read on.)

Has anyone noticed how many movies starring
Will Smith have medical themes and show off his hunky arms?
Exercise has been clinically proven to enhance immune system function.

As established, I Am Legend relates events that are about to ruin our lives, happening as I write this... blog! Using the film to read the future, we find that some time last year, in 2009, Doctor Alice Krippin engineered a strain of measles virus (paramyxovirus)(1) in an attempt to cure cancer. According to the film, we should expect to hear any day about Krippin's 100% cure rate for cancer by using this new viral strain in her experimental treatments.

Emma Thompson as Doctor Alice Krippin

If we are on schedule with I Am Legend, this viral cure for cancer will mutate, running horribly out of control, infecting and killing us sometime this year. It seems that this mutated virus has an infection rate between 90 and 100%, depending on your statistical source.

According to Wikipedia, once infected 90% of us will die, 8% will turn into a horribly degenerated vestige of mankind, and 2% are not affected at all, but will be murdered by mutated humans.

Mutant human attempting to murder the uninfected (talk about mood swings!)

So the brilliance of I Am Legend is that the virus used to cure cancer not only mutates its own DNA as it gets out of control and "goes airborne," but also mutates the DNA of the human host. Our entire scenario is a double mutation! For you trivia buffs, run-of-the-mill measles virus is already "airborne."

Spring colors (like blue) are all the rage this
season for the raging pandemic!

According to the movie, at any moment in 2010, we will begin to feel the initial signs and symptoms of viral infection. Many viral infections start in the same exact way, regardless of whether they are lethal, or mutating, or not. Influenza, HIV and polio all start with fever, headache, body aches, malaise. This pattern is commonly described as "flu-like symptoms."

This woman has signs of infection
with a horrible mutating epidemic,
or maybe it's the flu.

But because this is a mutated measles virus, hacking cough, sore throat and runny nose should develop tout suite, or it could just be H1N1(link for photo below.)

Oh my gosh! She sneezed! It's going airborne!

It is not clear if people infected with the mutant virus get a rash like measles,

A measles rash on the back, from an informative
article in the New York Times.

but they do develop a permanent fever (possibly as a result of the mutated adenovirus' hyper-stimulation of the body's immune response) and an accelerated metabolism...

Monitoring metabolism in the film.

...and photophobia, just like measles. I should point out that photophobia affiliated with measles infection does not make the patient's skin smoke and burn.

Double mutation induced photophobia is due to strike
the New York area in 2012 or sooner. Note the smoking epidermis.

People infected by the mutant virus also go on to lose all their hair except for eyelashes, have increased muscular power(2), increased coordination, and display behavioral changes and mood swings.

Patients may be prone to violent outbursts.

Their pets may also experience mood swings.

There also seems to be a bleeding eye thing that presents itself as a sign of infection with the virus. This bleeding eye event should not be confused with the hemolacria experienced by the character Le Chiffre in Casino Royale (blog entry CASINO ROeYeALE).

Infection with Krippin's mutated paramyxovirus
leads to bleeding from the eyes. Now we know it's not H1N1.

Next time we will track the spread of this virus through the general population.

1. Paramyxoviruses are a group of viruses that cause upper respiratory illnesses like measles, mumps. These are airborne viruses. According to Wikipedia, from Greek para-, beyond, -myxo-, mucus or slime, plus virus, from Latin poison, slime. Ick!
2. Enhanced muscular endurance is not documented in the film.

No comments:

Post a Comment