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BillPatt
12-16-2009, 07:10 PM
The WIP relies on immunology and its related fields of allergy and asthma. There was only one registered user who listed that in their field in the sticky, above. Anybody else part of this field?

Tsu Dho Nimh
12-16-2009, 07:48 PM
I've studied it. How deep into the doo-doo of immunology do you have to go?

Let us know what the plot requires to happen and we can either tell you what willmake that happen or say it's not feasible.

BillPatt
12-16-2009, 08:16 PM
Cool! Thanks for responding so quickly!

The plot involves a flu virus that has been manipulated to sensitize the human immune system to a specific set of allergans. This has the effect of killing two specific individuals who had "done the MC wrong". The Protag wanted to limit the infection to just those two, and gimped the virus so it would not spread.

However (you knew this was coming) the virus happens to also infect another individual with the regular, seasonal flu, and gains the virus equivalent of hybrid vigor. Plague! OMG! People dropping dead in the streets.

There's more, but let's make this initial part believable first.

PeterL
12-16-2009, 10:23 PM
While it may be possible to use influenza virus to carry something, I assume it would be genetic material, to some cells, the stuff being carried would only go to the cells infected. It might have the intended effect, but that would be iffy. It is possible that the combined virus would be more virulent, but influenza isn't predictable that way. It might also end up just passing the sensitizing agent along without any virulence.

You might consider different viruses to carry the sensitizing agent. In gene therapy a variety of viruses and some bacteria are used. Influenza is very unstable, so larger, more stable, viruses like corona viruses or adenoviruses might do a better job.

Kitty Pryde
12-16-2009, 10:37 PM
So...you want to give someone the flu...so that you can give them a fatal cat allergy? First off, I'm not certain that's possible. I believe the only way to become allergic to a protein is to be exposed to it (or something shaped almost exactly like it). And second, what's to stop them from calling 911? What if a good samaritan passing by has an epi-pen on them? It seems terribly convoluted to genetically engineer special influenza virus just to give someone an allergy.

Wouldn't it be easier to inject the two with a virulent but non-transmittable virus and kill them off? You could still make things 'go wrong'.

BillPatt
12-16-2009, 10:53 PM
So...you want to give someone the flu...so that you can give them a fatal cat allergy? First off, I'm not certain that's possible. I believe the only way to become allergic to a protein is to be exposed to it (or something shaped almost exactly like it). And second, what's to stop them from calling 911? What if a good samaritan passing by has an epi-pen on them? It seems terribly convoluted to genetically engineer special influenza virus just to give someone an allergy.

Wouldn't it be easier to inject the two with a virulent but non-transmittable virus and kill them off? You could still make things 'go wrong'.

The idea is that the victim gets the flu, recovers, then, at any time thereafter, goes into shock and dies when exposed to the specific allergan. It does not necessarily need to be possible, but plausible. I admit it's sort of out there. Just checking plausibility.

Problem 1: The target is an incarcerated prisoner and his lawyer, and therefore is inaccessible to the Protag, who is just a microbiologist. So, the only way he can reach them is through a letter. A letter impregnated with live virus.

Problem 2: The percentage of epi-equiped folks is pretty low, I imagine.

Thanks for looking, reading, thinking, and writing!

Kitty Pryde
12-16-2009, 11:00 PM
The idea is that the victim gets the flu, recovers, then, at any time thereafter, goes into shock and dies when exposed to the specific allergan. It does not necessarily need to be possible, but plausible. I admit it's sort of out there. Just checking plausibility.

Problem 1: The target is an incarcerated prisoner and his lawyer, and therefore is inaccessible to the Protag, who is just a microbiologist. So, the only way he can reach them is through a letter. A letter impregnated with live virus.

Problem 2: The percentage of epi-equiped folks is pretty low, I imagine.

Thanks for looking, reading, thinking, and writing!

I'm still pretty certain you can't use a virus to sensitize someone to an allergEn. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mast_cells.jpg

Also, human flu won't survive long enough to be mailed to someone. Plus, if it did, you're counting on the fact that the guy will definitely touch the letter, then put his hand in his mouth before washing it.

PeterL
12-16-2009, 11:08 PM
The idea is that the victim gets the flu, recovers, then, at any time thereafter, goes into shock and dies when exposed to the specific allergan. It does not necessarily need to be possible, but plausible. I admit it's sort of out there. Just checking plausibility.

While your idea may be possible, it is quite implausible. While some allergies are genetically based, it is probable that they would include more than one allele, so it would require more than one infection to create the sensitivity. The sensitivity would only be gained by cells that were infected, so you would have to make sure that the infection would get to suitable locations.

Getting it to the guy in prison would be tricky. Most viruses can survive druing out and other unpleasant situations, but as some crystals on piece of paper the virus would be difficult to get into the guy. Would there be some reason for him to lick the letter, or what?

BillPatt
12-17-2009, 12:15 AM
While your idea may be possible, it is quite implausible. While some allergies are genetically based, it is probable that they would include more than one allele, so it would require more than one infection to create the sensitivity. The sensitivity would only be gained by cells that were infected, so you would have to make sure that the infection would get to suitable locations.

Getting it to the guy in prison would be tricky. Most viruses can survive druing out and other unpleasant situations, but as some crystals on piece of paper the virus would be difficult to get into the guy. Would there be some reason for him to lick the letter, or what?

We therefore descend into hand-wavery. Darn. Well, given that the range of human responses to all kinds of things runs from no reaction to shock, I still think I can make a go of this. After all, this is the ONLY element of the story for which the reader has to suspend disbelief. Given that you can adjust someone's allergy response to something to such a severe level that they die, it then follows that ...blah...blah...blah...blah

He actually rubs his eyes after touching the letter. Definitely an infection route.

PeterL
12-17-2009, 12:27 AM
We therefore descend into hand-wavery. Darn. Well, given that the range of human responses to all kinds of things runs from no reaction to shock, I still think I can make a go of this. After all, this is the ONLY element of the story for which the reader has to suspend disbelief. Given that you can adjust someone's allergy response to something to such a severe level that they die, it then follows that ...blah...blah...blah...blah

He actually rubs his eyes after touching the letter. Definitely an infection route.

I would find it easier to suspend disbelief on this than I do with some of the things that people do. The rubbing of eyes is perfectly reasonable as a way to get the virus from paper to eyes. Viruses dry into crystal, so that's fine.


If you want to decrease the necessity for suspending disbelief, then you might create a virus that would kill 90% of people infected and that would infect only people with red hair, for example.

Kitty Pryde
12-17-2009, 12:42 AM
I would find it easier to suspend disbelief on this than I do with some of the things that people do. The rubbing of eyes is perfectly reasonable as a way to get the virus from paper to eyes. Viruses dry into crystal, so that's fine.


If you want to decrease the necessity for suspending disbelief, then you might create a virus that would kill 90% of people infected and that would infect only people with red hair, for example.

Infecting only redheads: sorry, that's not how influenza virus works. Redheads don't have different surfaces of their epithelial cells in the lungs.

PS No, you can't get influenza virus into your eyeballs. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Influenza_virus#Life_cycle

That's a double wallbanger right there.

BillPatt
12-17-2009, 12:57 AM
PS No, you can't get influenza virus into your eyeballs. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Influenza_virus#Life_cycle


The link did not disprove the infection route of virus to finger to conjuntiva, thence to tear duct in the nose and throat, downward. Besides, we're always warned not to touch our nose or eyes during flu epidemics.

Ever have a tear duct swell shut? It's annoying - your entire tear production never drains internally, only down your face. Worse if it affects both eyes (I got it in one.) The eye doc test is slightly terrifying - they stick a needle in the front part of your eye and shoot cold saline down the duct. Feels weird as hell.

I do want to say thanks so much for your feedback!

Kitty Pryde
12-17-2009, 01:00 AM
The link did not disprove the infection route of virus to finger to conjuntiva, thence to tear duct in the nose and throat, downward. Besides, we're always warned not to touch our nose or eyes during flu epidemics.

Ever have a tear duct swell shut? It's annoying - your entire tear production never drains internally, only down your face. Worse if it affects both eyes (I got it in one.) The eye doc test is slightly terrifying - they stick a needle in the front part of your eye and shoot cold saline down the duct. Feels weird as hell.

I do want to say thanks so much for your feedback!

Mouth and nose only:
http://cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/spread.htm
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/2003/fs211/en/

BillPatt
12-17-2009, 03:09 AM
I had to go look it up, because I was SURE the eyes were a route. Later on, in the same CDC website, I ran across this [emphasis added]:

http://cdc.gov/flu/protect/preventing.htm


Take everyday preventive actions.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.*
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other measures to keep our distance from each other to lessen the spread of flu.

I am willing to concede that it is a minor possible route of infection, not a major one. But it is still possible, so I am leaving it in.
I really appreciate all of your research - it has helped me out a lot.

PeterL
12-17-2009, 06:02 PM
Infectious agents can travel from the surface of eyes to the nasal cavity through tear ducts.

cscarlet
12-17-2009, 07:36 PM
Could you do it as an allergic response to something in the flu vaccine? Not everyone would have the allergy, but for example, right now people who are allergic to eggs can't get flu shots. You could have it where they had a minor reaction to something in the shot upon initial dose, but then a major reaction later when re-introduced to the same thing.

But for the way IgE cells are activated, I'm not sure you could do it the other way you're mentioning.

You can get infected with the flu from touching your eyes, but you have to already have the infectious agent on your hands first.

The length of time the flu virus can survive outside the body on an environmental surface varies depending on the type of surface. On nonporous surfaces such as plastic, metal or wood, some scientists believe (possibly) up to 24 hours. However, they do not last nearly as long on porous surfaces such as fabrics, skin or paper.

Tsu Dho Nimh
12-17-2009, 08:24 PM
One problem is that it's difficult to induce a predictable anaphylactic shock reaction in humans.

It can take one or many sensitizing doses before the next one goes anaphylactic, and you can't predict which.

If the character is a microbiologist, there are better ways to kill people. Give them a food-borne illness like brucellosis or listeria, send them Coccidiomycosis spores in some dusting powder (not contagious, large doses can create massive infection).

Inject their dog with rabies.