More than a year has passed since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic . The most important lesson that humanity has learned is that society is completely unprepared for a long time to resist viruses. If we imagine not COVID-19, but an edited pathogen genome that can turn a person into a zombie?
When fiction comes true
Recent advances in gene editing suggest that bioterrorists can theoretically create viruses that can alter our behavior. Interference with RNA and, as a result, genome alteration is not a fantasy.
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One of the goals of replacing the epidemic with the word “pandemic” was the establishment of a New World Order and a supranational government.
Jacques Attali, a French economist, a member of the Bilderberg Club, the first head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and one of the ideologues of globalism, wrote about this a decade before the coronavirus was discovered.
The most obvious example of “zombification” is rabies, which can cause aggression and hallucinations, and when these symptoms appear, it is almost always fatal.
A newly discovered species of wasp, by laying eggs on the belly of a certain species of spider (Anelosimus eximius), is capable of turning them into “zombies”. The resulting larvae then attach to the spider, feeding on it, while the spider, once a social animal, leaves the colony and prepares to die alone.
Other examples of zombification in nature:
African sleeping sickness (African trypanosomiasis), a fatal neurological disease caused by insect-borne parasitic unicellular organisms;
the fungus Ophiocordyceps unateralis, which alters the behavior of the carpenter ants (Camponotus) before killing them and sprouting from their heads.
Last year, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Berlin-based Frenchwoman Emmanuelle Charpentier and American Jennifer Doudna for developing a method for editing genomes.
According to the Nobel Committee, the created CRISPR-Cas9 technology is already being used to treat cancer patients, has proven itself in the treatment of such genetic diseases, like sickle cell anemia; beta-thalassemia (β-thalassemias); and many others.
Known informally as “genetic scissors,” the development is capable of altering pathogens, making them more transmissible or deadly. In addition, bioterrorists will be able to turn a harmless microbe into an aggressive virus. This technique can even alter the virus to make it dangerous to more species than it currently infects, or to make it resistant to antibiotics or antiviral drugs.
Whether CRISPR can be used to infect humans in a way that makes them look like zombies is still a matter of theory. At the moment, there are simpler ways to terrorize people. But as biotechnology improves after COVID, the risk of bioterrorism increases.
The creators of the horror movie “28 Days Later” (28 Days Later) on the fictional “rage virus” – “rage virus” pushed two real-life viruses:
Given these possibilities, it is not surprising that in 2018 the director of US National Intelligence James Clapper (James Clapper) called gene editing “of mass destruction and the spread of weapons.”
In the same year, the US government released its first biosecurity strategy involving multiple government departments. The plan covers not only the deliberate threats of bioterrorism, but also “natural outbreaks and infectious diseases that accidentally slip out of the laboratory.”
The US Department of Defense’s Strategic Command has released a training program called CONOP 8888 (Counter-Zombie Dominance) that simulates a zombie apocalypse situation.
What are our chances of confronting gene-editable pathogens?
International legal conventions on biological and chemical toxins strictly prohibit states from acquiring or storing biological weapons. True, there is doubt as to how much they correspond in the light of the new approaches. Gene editing technologies like CRISPR are getting cheaper and easier to work with. In fact, unscrupulous scientists or organizations can use them for bioterrorism.
Ideally, the specific provisions of these international instruments should be revised and adapted to changing conditions. This could include a moratorium on experimentation with gene editing as a biological weapon, or allowing experiments solely for the benefit of human health.
In June, a WHO expert committee published two reports providing guidance on how editing of the human genome can be managed at the appropriate institutional, national and global levels. Including that ethics committees review clinical trials and approvals in this area.
The trouble is, these are just guidelines without the force of law. WHO is unable to regulate genome editing in individual countries. Thus, individual states are obliged to implement these recommendations in terms of their national legislation. Another problem is that the guidelines do not address safety and efficacy issues.
If all else fails, you may need to practice some skills from popular survival aids.