Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mutation - Part Three

Emma Thompson as Alice Krippin. I bet she'll be playing Hilary Clinton within ten years.

Here we are in Manhattan, sometime around 2010. According to I Am Legend, Dr. Alice Krippin has developed a cure for cancer by engineering a measles virus to kill tumor cells. Unfortunately, that's not all her virus is killing!

In the movie, and in the future, Manhattan will be closed off and quarantined. Apparently the threat of this oncolytic adenovirus of Krippin's has "gone airborne" and one way to contain it is by closing off Manhattan.

Avoid long lines! Plan your out of town trips early.

For those of you visiting our fair isle of Manhattan before any hint of this viral-mutation-ruckus starts up, just remember that there are plenty of other airborne diseases(1) floating around our delightfully efficient subway system, just waiting to be sucked up into an unwary nostril of every rat, dog, and human(2) venturing into the underworld of the MTA.

This rat took the "V" (for VIRUS) train!

If we want to leave Manhattan, through an official check point, we will have our eyes screened with a device that seems to show a magnified image of the iris, displaying bleeding, or something red(3), caused by viral infection. This would not cause the hemolacria discussed in Mutation - Part Two. The detection device seems somewhat questionable in terms of its accuracy. It tests Robert Neville's wife Zoe as positive for the virus and then at the insistence of Neville, they try it again, and Zoe gets a green light (literally).

First scan indicates viral infection.

Zoe gets the green light 5 seconds later.

Faulty equipment means that we who are infected but not symptomatic should be able to get out of Manhattan with no difficulty, infecting our friends and family in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island and New Jersey. Indeed, that seems to happen. By the year 2012, there are barely any non-mutated people left in all of the world.

I know what you're asking yourself ... will I get the virus? Who will be the first to come down with the mutating measles? Before the virus mutates and goes airborne, nose-pickers and eye-rubbers who have virus on their fingers will be the first to be infected.

Even heads of state are not immune from this mutated virus

Next will be people who have touched an object touched by an infected person and people who have been sneezed on or coughed on by an infected person.

This means infants, toddlers and children in day care, and people in nursing homes will get it first. As the virus mutates toddlers and old people into violent bald superhuman panting veiny photophobes, the terms "ankle biter" and "crotchety old man" will have a whole new meaning.

Wow! I'm glad no one tries to turn smallpox into a cancer cure anymore ... oh, wait! They do!

1. Tuberculosis can float in air for at least a couple of hours. Of course tuberculosis is a bacterium and not a virus. Neither will it make you a photophobe with super-human strength.
2. In the movie, we see that rats, dogs, and people are susceptible to this virus, while deer and lions are not.
3. My understanding of eye anatomy is weak, but I believe that any kind of capillary perfusion or bleeding under the cornea or around the iris would also cause visual disturbances. Anyone care to comment?