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Possibilities of viruses as biological weapons

  1. Sep 17, 2012 #1
    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.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 17, 2012 #2
    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.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2012
  4. Sep 18, 2012 #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.
  5. Sep 18, 2012 #4


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    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.
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