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Rage Virus

  1. Aug 2, 2007 #1
    Not sure where this post belongs, but anyway i was wondering if a virus such as the one depicted in 28 days later could ever be developed or evolve from some virus that we know of today. From what i know i think viruses are capable of evolving because when i read the hot zone it talked about a virus jumping species. Any way i would like to know what you think.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 2, 2007 #2
    Could be evolved from rabies. You know genetic modifications here and there. Gene splices here and there. Deliberately exposing it to antibiotic to create a super virus that has the same effect as the RAGE! :Laughs evilly:

    But seriously it could work
  4. Aug 2, 2007 #3


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    Rabies is not a million miles from the movie virus
  5. Aug 2, 2007 #4
    Look mqb_phys, rabies make animals go nuts.

    Rage Virus makes people go nuts.

    So what i'm saying is somehow genetically engineer this rabies so that when it infects a human it causes the same effect as it would on animals. Which would be violence. Which is practically the same as rage.

    But the key word is genetic engineering.

    So i say probable. And now i am officially paranoid. :hides under bed:
  6. Aug 2, 2007 #5


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    (We obviously posted at the same time)

    Virus do evolve to help themselves spread, so rabies causes animals to wander away (spreading the virus) and foam at the mouth (saliva carries the virus) - many water born diseases like cholera cause diahorrea, helping them spread. You could imagine rabies evolving to cause people to attack ( and bite) others to spread it!!

    Of course many viruses ultimately evolve not to harm their hosts, who needs a dead host? In fact mitochondria are basically viruses that we can't live without. So you can come out from under the bed ;-)
  7. Aug 3, 2007 #6


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    Rabies already causes the host to bite and be more aggressive. The major route of infection is a bite. For 28-days-like viruse, rabies would need to evolve towards a form that decreases the severity of the symptoms such that the host can live for a longer time but at the same time increase the aggressive behavior.

    A viruses that is spread via direct contact. A virus-filled corpse for the scavenger to eat is one way for transmission to occurs. That type of transmission is frequent among parasitic worm.

    It's all about transmission and timing the transmission. So as long as the host help transmit the virus or other infectious agent, it does not matter if it is alive or dead.

    Mitochondria are bacteria not viruses. This type of mistake tend to bug microbiologist like me.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2007
  8. Aug 3, 2007 #7
    You'd also need some sort of homone-based system where infectees recognise each other and not attack themselves, like in the movie. Someone suggested retrotransposons that insert into the genome and make their chemicals.
  9. Aug 3, 2007 #8
    The one reason it couldn't work is because the rage virus (in the movie) caused symptoms within 30 seconds or so. Only nerve agents act that quickly.
  10. Aug 3, 2007 #9


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    Sorry it was late. Not enough coffee.
  11. Aug 3, 2007 #10
    Why would rage in the victims be an advantage to the donor? If your victims are running around killing each other then you are losing sources of transmission, bacteria and viruses don't generally survive host death for long (unless like in 28 hours the victims have an excessive need to taste human flesh and survive for a long period of time, which is kind of far fetched) Luckily rabies quickly incapacitates it's victims through an inability to ingest food or water (thus its other name hydrophobia, the swallowing mechanism is so painful an animal cannot find food and begins to froth at the mouth as it cannot even ingest its own saliva)

    The "best" viruses or bacteria keep their victims alive indefinitely and able to transmit their disease for the maximum length of time; those that off their victims quick are doomed not to make it to the next generation as quickly and thus do not survive as long or mutate as quickly. Rabies is a "backward" disease that is less likely to develop new more virulent strains, thankfully it's hoisted by its own petard. But then evolution is as ever blind, it's a chancer, it relies on luck.

    Can anyone remember that series from the early eighties that had a rabies outbreak in Britain, terrifying, unreal but very scary. I remember seeing as a young kid. :eek: It was the insanity that probably scared me the most, not just losing your ability to live but losing your ability to rationalise as well.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2007
  12. Aug 4, 2007 #11
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas. I guess with advancements in genetic engineering something similar to the rage virus could be developed. Probably not as deadly as the rage but similar enough to be a threat.
  13. Aug 4, 2007 #12


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    With a sufficient level of genetic engineering, you could develop an entire sub-culture with the biological imperative to play hop-scotch. :rolleyes:
  14. Jan 8, 2008 #13
    The rage virus is artificial. 2 scientists studied the violence nature in certain criminals and stumbled upon a way to suppress their violence tendency. It's some kind of neural inhibitor that specifically target the violence impulses in the brain. They decided to use a contagion as a mean of transport for the neural inhibitor, in this case they used the ebola virus. When they tested it, it had the opposite effect, putting the host into a constant and permanent state of rage. And the rest... well you know the story.

    I know there are quite a few microbiologists and possibly virologists here. This story about the beginning of the rage virus make any sense to you?
  15. Jan 8, 2008 #14

    jim mcnamara

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    Virus (bacteriophage) can be used to introduce new genetic material into bacteria - then have the bacteria produce new end-products of metabolism, as an example: create bacteria that manufacture an insulin analog. You throw a few modified bacteria into a large sterile vat of medium (food substrate for bacteria), wait a few day, then extract whatever - in this case maybe insulin.

    If you did something similar with virus particles, whereby they created some brain hormone in the host plus doing their normal virus thing, making maybe serotonin or melatonin, then you could alter host behavior. I suppose you could extrapolate that to a nifty polypeptide that sends people permanently into an uncontrolled rage.
  16. Jan 20, 2008 #15
    If all our behaviours are based on brain chemicals and genetically engineered viruses could change our behaviour then I believe there is no basis for a belief in religion, a god or any kind of after life. This is the ultimate nightmare for me. It's not the zombies who bother me. It is the true nature of life and living things.
  17. Jan 22, 2008 #16
    That's a pretty big IF.
  18. Jan 23, 2008 #17
    You know, I'm not really a religious person but perhaps all of these chemical impulses in your brain could explain the how and not the why.

    Anyways, It is nearly impossible for the Rage virus to be created by man or by nature. Either that or we just don't know enough about the characteristics of viruses to know the answer for sure. Humans don't know everything yet.
  19. Jan 25, 2008 #18
    One thing I know for sure. If I start seeing people acting like the way they do in the movie, I'm going to start slashing with my machete and ask questions later. :p
  20. Aug 24, 2008 #19
    My only reply to the "possibility" of the "rage virus" is more on the logical angle.

    While I firmly believe that it's chemically possible to turn human beings into rage-filled monsters (not sure about the 30-second results thing), I can't help but wonder - if it's RAGE... pure rage... then why would the infected only attack those who aren't infected? Wouldn't they tear each other apart - as rabid animals do? If you put two rabid dogs into a pen, they will attack each other - not look for a way out to attack other dogs. Logically speaking, rage would result in "any port in a storm" in terms of an outlet.

    Sure - this theory kills a good movie plot, but it's worth mentioning, even if it's just to get someone to pull the covers from over their head.
  21. Mar 1, 2009 #20
    I would have to say that some sort of nerve agent that stops the brain from absorbing serotonin(The chemical in your brain that keeps you from turning into a mindless killing machine) would seem to be likely in making something close to a zombie.
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