Possibilities of viruses as biological weapons

  • Thread starter Mangoes
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In summary, your idea of a virus that has a 100% mortality rate and stays in incubation for a long period of time is not realistic. There are several issues that would need to be addressed in order to make this a plausible plot device.
  • #1
Mangoes
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Hey there,

I've been writing an essay I need to turn in for one of my general eds and I needed to set it up so that every human is wiped out except some strange, tinfoil-hat family somewhere in some underground bunker and I decided to use some biological weapon in my story.

Unfortunately, I don't have much knowledge in biology and I'd like to know how plausible, or if it's even possible, this would be:

A man-made virus that's very infectious (it'd infect people the same way the common cold spreads), has a 100% mortality rate (I don't know if this is possible), and stays in incubation for a long period of time. The idea is that some crazy guy spreads it in some place, and it starts rapidly spreading - but since it doesn't display any symptoms for quite a while, let's say a year or two, it remains unnoticed until it becomes active, at which point every human is infected.

Is this even remotely possible?
I doubt my professor would care about the details, but if it's obviously impossible because of some reason, I'd like to consider some other method for my story.
 
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  • #2
Mangoes said:
Hey there,

I've been writing an essay I need to turn in for one of my general eds and I needed to set it up so that every human is wiped out except some strange, tinfoil-hat family somewhere in some underground bunker and I decided to use some biological weapon in my story...

A man-made virus that's very infectious (it'd infect people the same way the common cold spreads), has a 100% mortality rate (I don't know if this is possible), and stays in incubation for a long period of time...

Is this even remotely possible?
I doubt my professor would care about the details, but if it's obviously impossible because of some reason, I'd like to consider some other method for my story.

It may well be possible. Your idea that the virus should have a long latency is correct. I wouldn't worry about the details. However, it would be a lousy weapon for obvious reasons.
 
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  • #3
why are scifis always virus, why not try a parasite or bacteria. They can all transmit by air and is probably faster when comes to spread and severity.
 
  • #4
A virus with 100% lethality that can successfully infect nearly all humans is not realistic. The differences between human populations are such that infectious disease represents a strong selection pressure for resistance. Lastly given the isolation of some populations it is not believable that one specific isolated group manages to survive.

As there is no scientific answer to this and there are issues of safety to consider this thread will remain locked. If you want further help on your story but if you want a proposal for a realistic biological plot device you might as well just go with either not explained or really powerful virus that kills/incapacitates enough people to cause modern civilisation to collapse, which in turn kills pretty much everyone else.
 
  • #5


I must say that the scenario you have described is highly unlikely and not scientifically accurate. While there have been instances of viruses being used as biological weapons in the past, it is not as simple as creating a virus with a 100% mortality rate and a long incubation period.

Firstly, viruses do not spread the same way as the common cold. The common cold is caused by a variety of different viruses and is typically spread through respiratory droplets, while other viruses may be spread through bodily fluids or insect bites. Therefore, the method of transmission would have to be carefully considered in creating a virus as a biological weapon.

Secondly, a 100% mortality rate is not possible for any virus. The most deadly viruses known to date, such as Ebola and Marburg, have mortality rates ranging from 25-90%. A virus with a 100% mortality rate would essentially kill its host before it has a chance to spread to others, making it ineffective as a biological weapon.

Lastly, a virus with a long incubation period would not go unnoticed for a year or two. In today's world of advanced medical technology and surveillance, it is highly unlikely that a virus with such a long incubation period would go undetected. Even in the past, when there was less technology and medical knowledge, outbreaks of deadly viruses were still quickly identified and contained.

In conclusion, while viruses can be used as biological weapons, the scenario you have described is not scientifically plausible. I would suggest considering other methods for your story that are more realistic and scientifically accurate. I hope this helps.
 

1. What are the potential risks of using viruses as biological weapons?

The use of viruses as biological weapons poses several risks, including the potential for the virus to mutate and become more dangerous, the possibility of unintended spread to non-target populations, and the difficulty in controlling and containing the spread of the virus once it is released.

2. How likely is it that a virus could be used as a biological weapon?

It is difficult to determine the likelihood of a virus being used as a biological weapon, as it depends on various factors such as access to the virus, the capability of individuals or groups to develop and deploy the weapon, and the level of security and oversight in place to prevent such attacks.

3. Can viruses be engineered to make them more effective as biological weapons?

Yes, it is possible for viruses to be genetically engineered to make them more virulent or resistant to treatments, which could increase their potential as biological weapons. However, this process is complex and requires advanced knowledge and resources, making it less likely for it to occur on a large scale.

4. What steps are being taken to prevent the use of viruses as biological weapons?

The international community has taken steps to prevent the use of viruses as biological weapons, including the Biological Weapons Convention which prohibits the development, production, and stockpiling of biological weapons. Additionally, governments and organizations have implemented measures for biosecurity and biosafety to prevent the accidental or intentional release of dangerous viruses.

5. How can we prepare for a potential biological weapon attack using a virus?

Preparation for a potential biological weapon attack using a virus involves a combination of preventative measures, such as strengthening biosecurity and biosafety protocols and monitoring for any potential threats, as well as response plans in case of an attack. This includes developing and stockpiling vaccines and treatments, as well as coordinating with international organizations and governments for a coordinated response.

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