1. Zombie Among Us

    Zombie Among Us New Member

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    Curing a Deadly Virus After The Apocalypse

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Zombie Among Us, Oct 12, 2018.

    While I love biology, I'm only in 10th grade, so I don't quite understand this stuff. My question today is: how would you cure a deadly virus after the apocalypse?

    Background info: my story takes place 13 years after a virus, known as The Invasion's Deposit, begins to threaten humanity. There were also EMP waves, so there's little working technology and nothing like internet. The Invasion's Deposit, or TID, is still present and has not been cured, since so much of humanity was wiped out and maintaining the Bunkers stole much energy and time from the survivors. The disease has little to no effect on most other animals. A unsterilized lab is where the Cure is being developed. Out of the nine working on it, one is trained in tactically, and only one is a professional scientist. Every one of these people are infected with TID, and two are close to death.

    TID causes: sepsis, septic shock, and multiple/total organ failure.

    IDEA of the ingredients in the Cure: ginger extract, spinach extract, kiwi extract, cabbage juice, cranberry juice, apple juice, echinacea, citrus, kefir (fermented milk), garlic powder, turmeric.

    My questions:
    1. Do these ingredients work?
    2. How would a cure be developed? If there can't be a cure, how would the medicine be made?
    3. How would I give the cure/medicine its medical name? I know it's based on its chemical properties for medicine, is that the same for cures? How would I figure out the chemical properties?
    Thanks for reading this whole thing, I tried to make it short while keeping any details that may be relevant.
     
  2. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society

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    Let's start with your background
    I question this choice of name. What is an invasion's deposit and what does it have to do with a deadly disease? It doesn't sound aesthetically very good, or make a whole load of sense to me.

    In an unrelated event? That's convenient.
    Coincidence may be realistic, but it's not a good way of developing most major plotlines, because humans like meaningful patterns, especially in stories.

    Tactically is an adverb. You can't be trained in tactically. Do you mean 'trained tactically' or 'trained in tactics'?
    Either way, both are a bit redundant and vague.

    Do they work? It's a fictional disease. Anything could work.
    Do they make sense? Not so much.
    Antibiotics contain extracts of specific medicinal chemicals (e.g. Penicillin is a group of specific chemicals), not a bunch of herbal juice. While these chemicals could be found in fruit, there's no guarantee ingesting them in that form would be effective and it certainly would not be as effective as making a higher purity , concentrated dose.
    Vaccines work almost solely of deactivated or dead antigens from the relevant pathogens themselves, so that's even further off from your description.​

    My advice? Don't make a specific ingredient list. At all.
    Most of your readers will not be technically knowledgeable enough to tell the difference between a half arsed attempt at a technically accurate list, and a really good one. And those that could, will not care if you include it or not because they are reading fiction not a paper and will know not to expect that kind of technical detail.
    And while the readers won't really care, you will have to put in a LOT of work to do it properly. It's totally not worth it, unless maybe you're already an expert in the field.
    You may want to make reference to what kind of treatment this is, you could make vague or very limited reference to what's in it, but that would be more than enough.

    There is no one method to developing a cure. Not even remotely. Unless you count 'science' as an answer. The simplified answer is: it's haphazard. Scientific progress is always haphazard. Even when we pretend it's not.
    I can't answer the question of whether I think there should be a cure, versus other kinds of treatment (I don't have enough information about your story to say). As to whether or not there could be one, the answer is yes, because it's fiction- it's up to you.

    Cures are medicine.
    You should figure out the chemical properties, by not figuring out the chemical properties. See my earlier comment on the ingredients of a cure. Except maybe even worse here.
    As to what you should call the cure, you could think of a common nickname of some sort, use an unspecific abbreviation, or simply refer to it as 'the cure'/'the TID cure'/'the TID pill/vaccine/etc'. I don't think it's something you should give much attention to. Vaccines are convenient in this way in that they are commonly referred to as 'the (disease) vaccine', even in technical circles.
     
  3. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Digging out my Balzac Contributor

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    Little late, no? I mean, if the apocalypse was already 13 years past....
     
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  4. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society

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    To be fair, Zombie Among US does say "13 years after a virus... begins to threaten humanity".
     
  5. Some Guy

    Some Guy dilettante assassin! Supporter

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    What if the cure was another virus? Some people would always have to be sick, or get infected to produce it.
    Now there's some drama.
     
  6. DeeDee

    DeeDee Senior Member

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    If you want to be realistic, you can google about viruses and how we cure them now. If you don't need to be realistic, then anything can work. You got a virus that's affected by cabbage and spinach? Great. Soup works fine. Your world, your rules and don't let anybody else tell you otherwise.
     
  7. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society

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    If you are certain this is going to be specifically a virus, the cure should be probably be a vaccine.
     
  8. Zombie Among Us

    Zombie Among Us New Member

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    Wow, this blew up! Thanks guys! I suppose I should explain why it’s called “The Invasion’s Deposit.” The virus was created by creatures considered to be invaders, and the characters keep referring to “The Invasion.” This ALSO caused the EMP waves, it’s not a coincidence. What I meant by a character being trained in tactility (what I meant by tactically) was that he knows how to use a first aid kit and other things you’d need to know for the apocalypse. Also, thanks for clearing up that cures are a form of medicine, I’ve been trying to figure all that out.

    Yes, I am aware that it doesn’t make much sense that these foods and not their components are a part of the Cure or vaccine or whatever it’s going to be now. I should’ve explained I’m also trying to figure out how they would extract the TID-curing components.

    I’ve done research on a particular way to create vaccines, although I forget what it’s called. It’s where you cause the disease to adapt to a non-human host, then use that weakened strand in the vaccine. Your body learns to fight the disease without it harming you (most of the time, there are exceptions.)

    DK3645’s idea of making it a vaccine will probably be used, but I still don’t quite understand what I’m trying to do. Also, I was debating on wheather I should put in the ingredients list, and I’ll be sure to keep in mind what you said about that.

    About not going into too much detail for the cure/vaccine, I’m all for that. I’m getting a little tired of looking at seven different resources to try to figure out how I should approach one aspect of the disease, and it’s even worse trying to put it into writing. One thing I left out was that 8/9 of those in the lab were comatose for the thirteen years after the apocalypse (trust me, that’s for a reason,) with the scientist being the only one who was awake. He’s basically trying to inform all of the others (who were teenagers when they fell asleep) of all he knows. My point of saying that is that most of them are amateurs.

    Some Guy’s idea of having the virus being cured by another virus really intrests me. Maybe that will be the solution. Maybe they could reform some of TID’s creators and have them make it? I’ll have to look into that.

    Sorry that this was so long!
     
  9. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society

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    Good to hear.

    I don't think that's what tactility means.

    You don't need to explain it.
     
  10. Zombie Among Us

    Zombie Among Us New Member

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    Turns out I spelled it wrong a second time, I’m trying to type the word that means you know how to pitch a tent, or sharpen a knife, or other survival stuff. Pronounced tact-i-cal-it-y. I can’t find it anywhere so I’m starting to think it’s not even a word and I just made it up.
     
  11. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    Nothing in the above list would do anything to slow the infection of a virus. Someone mentioned antibiotics too, that would also be completely useless as viruses aren’t alive to being with.

    Most of the time the cure for a virus is your own immune system. Antibodies attack viruses so the cure would almost certainly have to come from someone who is naturally immune and a synthetic antibody would have to be created.

    Things you are given when fighting a virus do one of two things: boost your immune system (like zinc) or treat the symptoms but not the disease (like cold medicine.)
     
  12. Zombie Among Us

    Zombie Among Us New Member

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    I have done research stemming off of what @newjerseyrunner said. The following are my findings and ideas.

    TID is possibly now caused by an extreme version of influenza type B.
    Zanamivir is a real-life medicine for influenza types A and B.

    Info on medicine for TID:
    Based on Zanamivir, so it is called “Xanama” (pronounced “ex-an-a-ma.”)
    The x is for “unknown” due to the mysterious origins of TID.
    Side effects: confusion, anxiety, changes in mood or behavior

    Open for generic, vague names to replace “The Cure,” for this is no longer accurate. “The Cure” is currently used to describe the unknown medicine Xanama by those who don’t know about it, and by all before it is named.

    I’m interested to hear what y’all think of this! Once I create something I’m not only happy with but also makes sense to others, I’ll edit it into my story.
     
  13. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

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    Blood Angel Santa.jpg

    Well, they might be able to synthesize an antidote from the blood of someone
    immune.

    If no one is immune, then they may be able to use the infected blood to create
    a cure.

    Last ditch sitch, dump the warhead of an ICBM and launch yourself into space
    with some supplies. Hopefully towards the International Space Station. Cause
    Earth is fucked, so leave it to the infected and find a new home with less deadly
    diseases. (Caveat you die in transit to space from the G-forces, but hey, at least
    you tried to survive and died a quick death). :p
     
  14. Zombie Among Us

    Zombie Among Us New Member

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    I looked up what exactly an antidote is, and I found that those are only for poison. TID is not poison, it’s a virus.

    But yeah, you’re right, Earth is basically fucked, in real life and in my story. Sadly it wouldn’t be too illogical for all of my characters to kill themselves with G-forces, but hey, I’m the one who wrote their way into this mess.
     
  15. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Highly infectious, highly pathogenic, rapidly progressing viruses and bacteria are self limiting.

    Two things happen. One, people that are more resistant survive and pass on their resistance (see the bubonic plague history and the CCR5 deletion, and the introduction of a deadly rabbit virus into Australia).

    And two, for a rapidly evolving virus like influenza, the faster it kills people, the less people it spreads to. Viral strains that produce milder disease, because the infected person is going to spread the pathogen further, replace the more deadly strain. The 1918 influenza pandemic did this so that by it's third year passing through the population, it became an attenuated pathogen.

    No. And almost anything you eat/drink is going to be digested before reaching your bloodstream. There are some exceptions but not worth discussing here. In a fictional book you can make anything a magic-bullet cure though. No one will likely question it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018
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  16. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Do you need a cure? Or can you just assume that some small percentage of the human race has a natural immunity, and they're the only ones left?
     
  17. Zombie Among Us

    Zombie Among Us New Member

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    I’ve decided that there is no complete cure since multiple sources I have seen have said that there’s no such thing as a cure for a virus. Instead, Xanama will be the medicine developed in the lab. Also, part of my story is that some of the characters who will not die get sick, so I have to have Xanama be developed. It’s not something I’m likley to change if I don’t absolutely have to. ChickenFreak, your idea will still probably be used, however. I’m thinking that the boyfriend of the POV will have natural immunity. Why him? Because the POV has been going crazy, and they will just get worse with the symptoms of TID and side effects of Xanama. He will, as he has been already, help them stay sane.

    On a somewhat side note, I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to this so far. I truly do appreciate the help. I was completely lost as to what to do before this, and now I’ve got quite a few ideas and a lot more knowledge. So, thanks. :)
     
  18. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Be careful who you listen to.

    There are a number of anti-viral drugs, some that effectively suppress viral replication like for HIV and some that eliminate the virus altogether such as treatment for both hepatitis C and B.

    There are antivirals that treat influenza.

    And we eliminated small pox by vaccinating everyone eliminating the reservoir for the virus.

    There are a lot of antivirals in the works: MIT News: New drug could cure nearly any viral infection - Researchers at MIT’s Lincoln Lab have developed technology that may someday cure the common cold, influenza and other ailments.
    Broad-Spectrum Antiviral Therapeutics
    That was 2011 so no telling where they are with that research now. However, if it's going to kill the infected cells I don't think that's very promising. But I thought it was worth bringing up here for an idea of where we are in antiviral research.
     
  19. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Eh...Rabies is a virus, and rabies shots exist. Same for smallpox, measles, mumps, etc. So while one could argue about cure versus prevention, I would call a vaccine a cure on a societal level. I'm not clear on what you mean here.
     
  20. Zombie Among Us

    Zombie Among Us New Member

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    When I said cure, I meant something that kills a virus rather than just weakening it, which is what I've been told is impossible. According to a quick Google search, the definition for cure is "relieve (a person or animal) of the symptoms of a disease or condition." Now that I understand a cure relieves symptoms and doesn't kill the disease, I see what y'all were getting at. You were right; there ARE cures for viruses. Right now I'm thinking I'll go with the idea of Xanama (except it now being called a cure) and natural immunity since that seems like a simple, easy, and plausible answer to me.

    New questions:
    1. How plausible would it be in real life to take a medicine like Zanamivir (a neuraminidase inhibitor) and turn it into a new medicine for a virus similar to the one it's made for (influenza types A and B to modified influenza type B)? If this is plausible, how would it be done?
    2. How could a virus be genetically modified by humans to be stronger? Is this even possible in real life? Would it be possible to also have a higher chance of causing sepsis?
     
  21. Zombie Among Us

    Zombie Among Us New Member

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    Clairfication: I won’t go into too much detail about the science side of things. I’m only looking for a general answers to my questions. I’m only going to skim over how things work in the lab and focus more on something else, likley character development.
     
  22. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

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    rabies shots are a vaccine - you get given it if you are bitten by a rabid animal, before frank symptoms develop - if you are already into extreme symptoms there is no cure and the vaccine won't help
     
  23. Privateer

    Privateer Active Member

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    You can't cure viruses. All you can do is give your system a leg-up.

    A virus isn't truly alive in the way we are; being just a string of genetic material in a protein box, it has no biological processes to interrupt, so it has to be either isolated from the body or physically destroyed. Anything that will destroy a virus will be similarly destructive to the body of the host. Which is a bit of a bugger.
     
  24. Zombie Among Us

    Zombie Among Us New Member

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    Okay, so it seems there's a lot of debate over if there are cures for viruses. Because of this, I have decided to take it upon myself to figure out what's true.
    Note: I will not use any excerpts from people on writingforums.org. It feels like I’m calling out or something.

    The definition of cure as a verb, according to Bing, is to “relieve (a person or animal) of the symptoms of a disease or condition.” As a noun, it is “a substance or treatment that cures a disease or condition,” and “medicine” is listed as a synonym.
    Keeping this in mind, I searched for websites that said if viruses can or cannot have their symptoms limited by medications.
    From what I have read, antivirals do exist, but only for certain infections. According to BBC Science, antivirals “work by disrupting a part of the virus' lifecycle. Some interfere with the virus' attachment to the cell; others stop the virus' genetic material being incorporated inside the host cell.” I would consider antivirals to be cures. The websites WebMD and MedlinePlus have text agreeing with BBC Science.
    “The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is funding HIV cure efforts based on this new knowledge, and advocacy groups like amfAR are also pouring resources into not just treating HIV, but also finding ways to eradicate it completely,” TIME Magazine says. This means that scientists are trying to develop a cure for a virus.
    The Invasion’s Deposit is a mutated version of influenza type B. A user on Quora has called influenza “self-limiting” and that it can end up killing itself, but I don’t think I want that to be the case in my story for curing the entire world.

    I have found one website, fredhutch.org, says that viral infects can only be cured by killing the cells they inhabit, or by having their DNA damaged while not harming Human DNA. However, the article I found this information on focuses on HIV, HSV, and HBV, which are much different than influenza. To see if these claims are meant to apply to all viral infections, I read more, and instead found “in theory you would no longer need the antiviral treatment because the virus is no longer functional,” meaning this website acknowledges that antivirals at least do something.

    That’s five sources against one, or possibly six against none if fredhutch has a different definition of cure as the others.

    Because of this research, I am now happy with what I have come up with for my story. I would like to once again thank everyone who has contributed to this thread. You may have a different definition of what a cure is, but I’m going with what Bing says.

    “For some viral diseases, such as herpes simplex virus infections, HIV/AIDS, and influenza, antiviral medications have become available. But the use of antiviral medications has been associated with the development of drug-resistant microbes.”
    From https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/bacterial-and-viral-infections#1

    “Some viruses such as influenza are self-limiting, which means it can spontaneously resolve without treatments. Some viruses can cause persistent infections but can be cured with drugs. Examples includes HCV. Some viruses can cause persistent infections and cannot be cured even treated with drugs.”
    User submission at www.quora.com/Can-viruses-be-cured

    For most viral infections, treatments can only help with symptoms while you wait for your immune system to fight off the virus. Antibiotics do not work for viral infections. There are antiviral medicines to treat some viral infections. Vaccines can help prevent you from getting many viral diseases.
    From https://medlineplus.gov/viralinfections.html

    “Some, like measles and smallpox, can be defeated with vaccines and drugs.” “Drugs are another line of defence. Unfortunately, they are less effective against viruses than they are against bacteria. Antibiotic drugs kill bacteria by disrupting their cell walls. But virus' external covering, known as the viral envelope, is almost identical to the host cell's membranes, making them difficult to target.” “Some anti-viral drugs have been developed. They work by disrupting a part of the virus' lifecycle. Some interfere with the virus' attachment to the cell; others stop the virus' genetic material being incorporated inside the host cell.” “Used in combination, some antiviral drugs have proved effective against specific viruses. Anti-viral drugs can dramatically prolong the lives of people affected by HIV.”
    From http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/0/21143412

    “The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is funding HIV cure efforts based on this new knowledge, and advocacy groups like amfAR are also pouring resources into not just treating HIV, but also finding ways to eradicate it completely,”
    From http://time.com/5190960/no-cure-hiv-but-scientists-getting-closer/

    “Any successful cure of viral infection must either kill off all the human cells that contain viral DNA, which would likely be extremely toxic or lethal to the patient, or slice out or permanently damage this DNA while leaving the human DNA intact.”
    From https://www.fredhutch.org/en/labs/vaccine-and-infectious-disease/news/faculty_stories/auber_martine.html
     
  25. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Your problem here is that your definition of cure is wrong .. to 'relieve symptoms' is not a definition of cure, otherwise you could say that you could cure a broken leg with injections of morphine - because it stops it hurting.

    Cure means to permanently reverse the symptoms - ie you cure a broken leg by putting it in a cast and allowing the bone to repair, not by leaving it untreated except for with pain killers
     

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