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> Deadly new virus..., in Africa if you can image that....
Method
post May 29 2009, 03:55 AM
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kzt
post May 29 2009, 05:47 AM
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QUOTE (Method @ May 28 2009, 08:55 PM) *

There are probably all sorts of crazy diseases in Africa. IIRC, they found HIV in frozen blood samples from the mid 1950s, but they just blended into the background given the horrific number of diseases that killed people in rural Africa then. It took the growth of large urban areas via migration and migrant labor to bring it out of the background.
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The Jake
post May 29 2009, 06:05 AM
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I shudder to imagine the terrible types of viruses that could be manufactured, combining the best (or worst) of modern technology and the best that Mother Earth has.

Imagine bioengineered versions so that they have rapid onset and increased fatality and mutation rates. Combine it with items like nanotech weaponry and DMSO...

- J.
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rathmun
post May 29 2009, 06:35 AM
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QUOTE (The Jake @ May 29 2009, 12:05 AM) *
I shudder to imagine the terrible types of viruses that could be manufactured, combining the best (or worst) of modern technology and the best that Mother Earth has.

Imagine bioengineered versions so that they have rapid onset and increased fatality and mutation rates. Combine it with items like nanotech weaponry and DMSO...

- J.



Actually, if you want to use a disease as a weapon, rapid onset isn't always what you want. The ideal incubation period depends on whether you intend to use it to kill individuals, or continents. When targeting an individual, then yes, you want rapid onset. When targeting entire peoples, then you want very slow onset (assuming the disease is contagious while incubating)

The reason you want a long incubation for strategic scale disease warfare is that someone who is showing no symptoms is allowed to interact with the population normally. Thus if you have a disease where (for example) the time between infection and onset is a month, and the victim is contagious from day 7 on, then you can get three generations of victims before the first victim shows symptoms. When it comes to the spread of disease, three generations could easily be 90% of the population. This is the reason that the idea of Ebola mutating into a slow burner is horrifying to doctors. If it did, then it would have the capacity to wipe out significant portions of the world population.
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The Jake
post May 29 2009, 06:57 AM
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QUOTE (rathmun @ May 29 2009, 07:35 AM) *
Actually, if you want to use a disease as a weapon, rapid onset isn't always what you want. The ideal incubation period depends on whether you intend to use it to kill individuals, or continents. When targeting an individual, then yes, you want rapid onset. When targeting entire peoples, then you want very slow onset (assuming the disease is contagious while incubating)


I'm presuming the ideal use of a bioweapon (apart from terror) is rapid clearing of human targets while ideally preserving existing infrastructure. There's no need anymore for scorched earth tactics when you can effective remove the entire population without a fight within a matter of days, if not hours.

Depends on your target I guess.

If anything, I could see a need to delay onset for specific, individual targets. Like that Russian spy dying of radiation poisoning. Simple but effective.

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The reason you want a long incubation for strategic scale disease warfare is that someone who is showing no symptoms is allowed to interact with the population normally. Thus if you have a disease where (for example) the time between infection and onset is a month, and the victim is contagious from day 7 on, then you can get three generations of victims before the first victim shows symptoms. When it comes to the spread of disease, three generations could easily be 90% of the population. This is the reason that the idea of Ebola mutating into a slow burner is horrifying to doctors. If it did, then it would have the capacity to wipe out significant portions of the world population.


Good point. However, just because someone is displaying symptoms already doesn't mean they're still not contagious though.

Also, with genetically tailored viruses and nanotech, there's no reason you couldn't limit this to a very short lifespan -- e.g. maximum duration 21 days. At which point the viral cells simply die.

This could ensure that the virus died out long before an invading force sent in their armed forces to claim territory. Would also ensure that anyone left would be easy pickings...

- J.
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Method
post May 29 2009, 12:33 PM
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QUOTE (The Jake @ May 28 2009, 10:57 PM) *
Also, with genetically tailored viruses and nanotech, there's no reason you couldn't limit this to a very short lifespan -- e.g. maximum duration 21 days. At which point the viral cells simply die.
A virus is not technically a living organism. But your point is correct. The ideal agent in a rapid attack would be an enveloped virus because they have very poor survival in the environment.

On the other hand, the major "benefit" of a longer disease course is that it ties up your enemies logistical resources. Sick soldiers can't fight, but they still need food, lodging, transportation and medical attention.

I would talk specifics, but I'm pretty sure the DHS is already reading along. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)
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Stahlseele
post May 29 2009, 01:14 PM
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Madagascar would be ok.
http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/uncyclop..._Madagascar.gif
For those who don't know, pandemic2 is a little flash game(which can be found here: )http://www.crazymonkeygames.com/jkf6Tr/pandemic2.swf), where you are actually playing the role of something that has to infect and kill as much of the earths population as possible.
And only if you start in madagascar do you have ANY chance to infect that blasted island. they simply shut down all contact with the outside world.
and if you do start there? there's another island that can just shut down.
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Leehouse
post May 29 2009, 03:00 PM
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QUOTE (Stahlseele @ May 29 2009, 09:14 AM) *
Madagascar would be ok.
http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/uncyclop..._Madagascar.gif
For those who don't know, pandemic2 is a little flash game(which can be found here: http://www.crazymonkeygames.com/jkf6Tr/pandemic2.swf), where you are actually playing the role of something that has to infect and kill as much of the earths population as possible.
And only if you start in madagascar do you have ANY chance to infect that blasted island. they simply shut down all contact with the outside world.
and if you do start there? there's another island that can just shut down.



You can get Madagascar, I've gotten the entire planet about 4 times, it just takes a long time and you have to sit with almost no symptoms.
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Draco18s
post May 29 2009, 03:20 PM
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QUOTE (Leehouse @ May 29 2009, 10:00 AM) *
You can get Madagascar, I've gotten the entire planet about 4 times, it just takes a long time and you have to sit with almost no symptoms.


I've done it in under 100 days.
How about you?
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Doc Byte
post May 29 2009, 03:35 PM
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QUOTE (The Jake @ May 29 2009, 08:05 AM) *
I shudder to imagine the terrible types of viruses that could be manufactured, combining the best (or worst) of modern technology and the best that Mother Earth has.

Imagine bioengineered versions so that they have rapid onset and increased fatality and mutation rates. Combine it with items like nanotech weaponry and DMSO...

- J.


You should read this novel and you will unterstand why HIV is a very, very poor bioweapon. The point is not to create a super deadly bioweapon. Every virus is pointless without an antidote. Otherwise you have no means of keeping the virus from killing your own people. A biowaepon without a working antidote is pure suicide. The hard part is not to create the virus but stopping it at your own front door.
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Method
post May 29 2009, 11:33 PM
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All depends really.

THIS paper from the CDC does list HIV as an agent "associated with biocrimes and bioterrorism". Of course that could be because of the few cases wherein HIV+ people purposely tried to infect others (thus more biocrime).

But its important to remember that a major factor in biological warfare is the psychological effect on the enemy. And when it comes to popular opinion and general fear, HIV seems to have a great PR agent. Plus (in the US at least) we have some wonky laws regarding HIV testing (based more on politics than science) that would seriously hamper any organized response to an outbreak.

Also many agents considered potential bioweapons are not all that dangerous in terms of the disease they cause but are included because they have certain properties that would be great in a theoretical/idealized biowarfare agent. HIV's ability to mutate rapidly, for example. Or take Coxiella burnetii- Q fever isn't all that exciting of a disease but when you consider that C. burnetii has an infectious dose of about *2 bacteria* and can be aerosolized you can see where the interest lies.
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Ed_209a
post May 30 2009, 04:46 AM
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This isn't really applicable for the Shadowrun setting, but ponder this: Viruses make crappy international weapons, but awesome interstellar weapons.

Hop on over to a primitive, but nuclear armed, planet. Abduct a few thousand hairless primates to get genetic baselines and microorganism samples. Have one of your interns mix the delayed onset of HIV with the terminal package of Ebola. The hairless chimps happily spread it for a decade, then billions die over a month or two. You smack the survivors, and voila, a new planet!

Since you have less in common with the hairless chimp than their houseplants, what do you care if every surface on the planet has virus contamination?
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The Jake
post May 30 2009, 01:12 PM
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QUOTE (Doc Byte @ May 29 2009, 03:35 PM) *
You should read this novel and you will unterstand why HIV is a very, very poor bioweapon. The point is not to create a super deadly bioweapon. Every virus is pointless without an antidote. Otherwise you have no means of keeping the virus from killing your own people. A biowaepon without a working antidote is pure suicide. The hard part is not to create the virus but stopping it at your own front door.


I never said HIV for starters. What I did say was custom tailored bioweapons - i.e. one with a rapid onset but short duration (by short I mean programmed with nanites to ensure it dies out on a pre-programmed date). This combination of bioware using viral weapons and nanotechnology would be brutal.

I'm talking about a virus that might last a month (for example) and then die out. Rapid onset would help to minimse the spread outside the intended area (people can't flee and spread the contaigion if they're coughing up their lungs) and a fixed end date would ensure that even if it did spread outside your intended spot, the nanites would end it permanently when you needed it. I.e. before you send in the infantry to mop up the left overs.

At the end of the day, as someone else said, it depends on what you're trying to achieve (as the attacker that is).

Granted using my above scenario, you could have all sorts of fun as a twisted GM - imagine if the nanites FAILED to kill the virus...

- J.
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Method
post May 30 2009, 04:02 PM
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QUOTE (Ed_209a @ May 29 2009, 08:46 PM) *
This isn't really applicable for the Shadowrun setting, but ponder this: Viruses make crappy international weapons, but awesome interstellar weapons.

Hop on over to a primitive, but nuclear armed, planet. Abduct a few thousand hairless primates to get genetic baselines and microorganism samples. Have one of your interns mix the delayed onset of HIV with the terminal package of Ebola. The hairless chimps happily spread it for a decade, then billions die over a month or two. You smack the survivors, and voila, a new planet!

Since you have less in common with the hairless chimp than their houseplants, what do you care if every surface on the planet has virus contamination?


Interesting idea... You're right in that is a little too "spacey" for SR, but if you were to combine this with The Jake's idea of a nanite deactivated pathogen and the goal was to use it on a technologically naive population (to reclaim a Feral City perhaps?) the reasoning could work...

This is giving me all sorts of ideas.
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post May 30 2009, 07:28 PM
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I think most 'dangerous' virus in Africa look worse because of the poor health care and lower reistsnace.

I'm still convinced the severeity of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic was caused by massed malnutrition following WW1's disruption of normal trade
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kzt
post May 30 2009, 08:40 PM
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QUOTE (Snow_Fox @ May 30 2009, 12:28 PM) *
I think most 'dangerous' virus in Africa look worse because of the poor health care and lower reistsnace.

I'm still convinced the severeity of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic was caused by massed malnutrition following WW1's disruption of normal trade

No, it killed preferentially people who were healthy and well nourished. Casualties among the elderly and young were much lower then a typical epidemic.
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