Contagion!

There is now, in development, a DNA vaccine for plague.

Yep. Plague. You know, that thing that hammered the crap out of the human race up to the 1600s and is still around – although these days it comes up occasionally and really doesn’t get too far. It’s a bacterial infection and we now have antibiotics that can stop it.

There were two cases recently in China. Some folk ate an animal known to be a high risk of being a plague carrier. Even the Chinese avoid that one but I guess even the Chinese have a few idiots.

It shows up in warm places to this day, even in southern US states a few cases arise. Madagascar, off the coast of Africa, seems particularly prone to it.

Sure, some of the more remote places where it shows up can be hard to supply with antibiotics, and a vaccine might be a good thing there, but an experimental, monkey-virus vector carrying DNA to make your own cells look like plague bacteria? That doesn’t sound like such a good idea, especially since your covid vaccine already makes a lot of your cells look like they are infected with a virus. Your immune system is going to be busy, killing all your own body’s cells because it thinks you are infected.

Plague can be treated with antibiotics. A plague vaccine could be based on killed bacteria. It has never been developed because, frankly, there’s no money in it. Plague’s current range and frequency simply don’t justify that sort of investment, especially when there are already treatments for it.

Yet now, we see a company investing a hell of a lot in the development of a vaccine we don’t actually need, and which won’t make any money because it’s most useful in places that don’t have much money. Why is that?

And why does it need to make your own cells express plague bacteria proteins? The traditional route, killed bacteria, is likely to be much more successful, cheaper to produce and far easier to transport to remote areas. Unlike viruses, it is very easy to make sure a bacterial vaccine contains no live ones. Why go the expensive, complicated, experimental route?

Especially when the investment is unlikely to ever pay for itself.

Or is it? Oh, you don’t need to unleash plague on the world again. You just need to make enough people scared of it. As my fictional world did with scrofula, back in 2017.

Expect to hear more plague cases popping up. Expect to hear about ‘variants’ and ‘antibiotic resistant’ strains. Expect to hear about it hitting big cities.

Expect to have plague vaccine added to your vaccine passport, right behind covid and flu. Expect to see many more vaccinations added, plus regular boosters. Expect to never hear of anyone who has caught plague, but to hear of many who have suffered after vaccination.

There is only one way to profit from a vaccine hardly anyone has any need of.

Make them scared. It’s worked well so far.

10 thoughts on “Contagion!

    • TB is endemic in quite large parts of the UK right now, in the badger population. The basic problem is that quite a large proportion of the UK human population are quite startlingly thick, and seem not to realise that when you have an animal with a good food supply and no predators it will eventually hit the carrying capacity for its habitat.

      At that point, disease tends to be the limiting factor rather than predation, and whilst nobody would shed a tear if badgers were subject to a badger-only plague, they are instead subject to a rampant zoonotic disease which happily infects cattle, camelids like llamas, cats, dogs and of course people.

      If you then compound the problem of controlling the population with a prime minister whose training in the law left him subject to the fallacy that making a law would affect human behaviour, then you end up with a pest mesopredator unreasonably given ultra-high levels of legal protection when all it actually warrants is a close season and a legal power limit on guns used on it.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I’ve just finished reading Quietus by Tristan Palmgren, here, and have just started Terminus.
    https://discover.aucklandlibraries.govt.nz/iii/encore/record/C__Rb3427864

    “Niccolucio, a young Florentine Carthusian monk, leads a devout life until the Black Death kills all of his brothers, leaving him alone and filled with doubt. Habidah, an anthropologist from another universe racked by plague, is overwhelmed by the suffering. Unable to maintain her observer neutrality, she saves Niccolucio from the brink of death. Habidah discovers that neither her home’s plague nor her assignment on Niccolucio’s world are as she’s been led to believe. Suddenly the pair are drawn into a worlds-spanning conspiracy to topple an empire larger than the human imagination can contain.”

    His blog around that time:
    https://www.tristanpalmgren.com/blog?offset=1536932340926
    https://www.tristanpalmgren.com/

    A smart young man from the author photo bio back page of the Quietus book, and a fun CV.

    Liked by 2 people

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