Discussion:
Coronavirus in Science Fiction
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Robert Woodward
2020-03-23 05:15:14 UTC
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Some might say that, since the reference I found to coronavirus was in
an Honorverse Info-Dump, it isn't science fiction. In the 1998
anthology, _More than Honor_, there was long article on the Honorverse
background, including a history of Manticore. This history mentioned a
plague that killed a large fraction of the colony several decades after
the founding. When _A Beautiful Friendship*_ was released in 2011, there
was a story posted on the Baen website. This story consisted of a letter
that Stephanie Harrington sent to a friend back on Meyerdahl (the planet
the Harringtons had emigrated from). The letter included an attached
Immigration Brochure on Sphinx. The last bit had a more extensive
discussion of the plague:

"A native Manticoran pathogen similar to a coronavirus has crossed over
and proven infectious to humans. There was an initial outbreak outbreak
of a respiratory illness roughly forty T-years ago. While it proved
dangerous to the elderly, it was deemed to be no more severe than the
common cold or a light influenza. What was not understood then, but is
understood now, is that this pathogen was able to mix DNA with existing
human coronaviruses; most of these mixes proved unstable and unable to
reproduce. One of them proved to be both infectious and to have a
protein shell that triggered extreme immunoglobin responses"

(this second wave was the killer, it went through multiple mutations
that defeated attempts to create a vaccine for over a decade - killing
over half of the original colonists and a lesser-fraction of their
Manticore-born children)

*"A Beautiful Friendship" was originally a 32k novella, published in
1998; that part was expanded and an new sequence was after after that).
--
"We have advanced to new and surprising levels of bafflement."
Imperial Auditor Miles Vorkosigan describes progress in _Komarr_.
‹-----------------------------------------------------
Robert Woodward ***@drizzle.com
Leif Roar Moldskred
2020-03-24 15:53:33 UTC
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Post by Robert Woodward
"A native Manticoran pathogen similar to a coronavirus has crossed over
and proven infectious to humans. There was an initial outbreak outbreak
of a respiratory illness roughly forty T-years ago. While it proved
dangerous to the elderly, it was deemed to be no more severe than the
common cold or a light influenza. What was not understood then, but is
understood now, is that this pathogen was able to mix DNA with existing
human coronaviruses; most of these mixes proved unstable and unable to
reproduce. One of them proved to be both infectious and to have a
protein shell that triggered extreme immunoglobin responses"
Uff. That's some pretty shoddy biology groundwork being shown.
--
Leif Roar Moldskred
Robert Carnegie
2020-03-24 17:23:34 UTC
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Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
Post by Robert Woodward
"A native Manticoran pathogen similar to a coronavirus has crossed over
and proven infectious to humans. There was an initial outbreak outbreak
of a respiratory illness roughly forty T-years ago. While it proved
dangerous to the elderly, it was deemed to be no more severe than the
common cold or a light influenza. What was not understood then, but is
understood now, is that this pathogen was able to mix DNA with existing
human coronaviruses; most of these mixes proved unstable and unable to
reproduce. One of them proved to be both infectious and to have a
protein shell that triggered extreme immunoglobin responses"
Uff. That's some pretty shoddy biology groundwork being shown.
If you're worried about the story element of an
extraterrestrial virus infecting humans...
I don't know these stories, but since we have
very little knowledge of extraterrestrial life,
it's conceivable either that alien DNA is treated
as nonsense in terrestrial cells and does not
reproduce, or, as may be implied here, that
the laws of nature allow DNA-based life to
come into existence and develop in basically one
way only - so that an alien virus may be entirely
compatible with the human body.

I think that the DNA coding system of human cell
mitochondria (or that of any other critter) does have
a minor difference or two from how nuclear chromosome
DNA works, so it appears that different DNA systems
can work. But perhaps any natural DNA system must be
/mostly/ the same as ours?

Wikipedia says: "It is thought that mitochondria were
once independent bacteria, and became part of the
eukaryotic cells by being engulfed, a process called
endosymbiosis."
Leif Roar Moldskred
2020-03-24 18:49:02 UTC
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Post by Robert Carnegie
Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
Post by Robert Woodward
"A native Manticoran pathogen similar to a coronavirus has crossed over
and proven infectious to humans. There was an initial outbreak outbreak
of a respiratory illness roughly forty T-years ago. While it proved
dangerous to the elderly, it was deemed to be no more severe than the
common cold or a light influenza. What was not understood then, but is
understood now, is that this pathogen was able to mix DNA with existing
human coronaviruses; most of these mixes proved unstable and unable to
reproduce. One of them proved to be both infectious and to have a
protein shell that triggered extreme immunoglobin responses"
Uff. That's some pretty shoddy biology groundwork being shown.
If you're worried about the story element of an
extraterrestrial virus infecting humans...
Not with it as a story element, no. Sure, it's far-fetched, but a lot of things
in sci-fi are far-fetched. (I'll quibble that it doesn't make sense to describe
an alien pathogen as "similar to a coronavirus" without explaining _how_ it is
similar to coronaviruses in particular -- it's a bit like saying you've
discovered a new species of dinosaur similar to the Borgia family, but fine,
that's just me being pedantic.) It's just that the explanation given for it
was shoddy (starting with corona viruses being RNA based and not DNA based.)

Don't get me wrong. It's just a minor niggle without any importance to the
story, and in context I wouldn't have cared much. But with the paragraph
standing on its own, free of the surrounding story, it just stood out.
--
Leif Roar Moldskred
Kevrob
2020-03-26 01:09:04 UTC
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Permalink
Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
Post by Robert Carnegie
Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
Post by Robert Woodward
"A native Manticoran pathogen similar to a coronavirus has crossed over
and proven infectious to humans. There was an initial outbreak outbreak
of a respiratory illness roughly forty T-years ago. While it proved
dangerous to the elderly, it was deemed to be no more severe than the
common cold or a light influenza. What was not understood then, but is
understood now, is that this pathogen was able to mix DNA with existing
human coronaviruses; most of these mixes proved unstable and unable to
reproduce. One of them proved to be both infectious and to have a
protein shell that triggered extreme immunoglobin responses"
Uff. That's some pretty shoddy biology groundwork being shown.
If you're worried about the story element of an
extraterrestrial virus infecting humans...
Not with it as a story element, no. Sure, it's far-fetched, but a lot of things
in sci-fi are far-fetched. (I'll quibble that it doesn't make sense to describe
an alien pathogen as "similar to a coronavirus" without explaining _how_ it is
similar to coronaviruses in particular -- it's a bit like saying you've
discovered a new species of dinosaur similar to the Borgia family, but fine,
that's just me being pedantic.) It's just that the explanation given for it
was shoddy (starting with corona viruses being RNA based and not DNA based.)
Don't get me wrong. It's just a minor niggle without any importance to the
story, and in context I wouldn't have cared much. But with the paragraph
standing on its own, free of the surrounding story, it just stood out.
Alien biota may not be able to interact with us the way
viruses and bacteria do, but couldn't "xenoproteins" of
alien origin be horribly poisonous? Waste products could
be a nightmare.

Xenoproteins have been made in the lab.

http://news.mit.edu/2018/chemists-synthesize-millions-proteins-not-found-nature-0521

Kevin R
Dorothy J Heydt
2020-03-26 04:00:55 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Robert Woodward
Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
Post by Robert Carnegie
Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
Post by Robert Woodward
"A native Manticoran pathogen similar to a coronavirus has crossed over
and proven infectious to humans. There was an initial outbreak outbreak
of a respiratory illness roughly forty T-years ago. While it proved
dangerous to the elderly, it was deemed to be no more severe than the
common cold or a light influenza. What was not understood then, but is
understood now, is that this pathogen was able to mix DNA with
existing
Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
Post by Robert Carnegie
Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
Post by Robert Woodward
human coronaviruses; most of these mixes proved unstable and unable to
reproduce. One of them proved to be both infectious and to have a
protein shell that triggered extreme immunoglobin responses"
Uff. That's some pretty shoddy biology groundwork being shown.
If you're worried about the story element of an
extraterrestrial virus infecting humans...
Not with it as a story element, no. Sure, it's far-fetched, but a lot
of things
Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
in sci-fi are far-fetched. (I'll quibble that it doesn't make sense to
describe
Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
an alien pathogen as "similar to a coronavirus" without explaining _how_ it is
similar to coronaviruses in particular -- it's a bit like saying you've
discovered a new species of dinosaur similar to the Borgia family, but fine,
that's just me being pedantic.) It's just that the explanation given for it
was shoddy (starting with corona viruses being RNA based and not DNA based.)
Don't get me wrong. It's just a minor niggle without any importance to the
story, and in context I wouldn't have cared much. But with the paragraph
standing on its own, free of the surrounding story, it just stood out.
Alien biota may not be able to interact with us the way
viruses and bacteria do, but couldn't "xenoproteins" of
alien origin be horribly poisonous? Waste products could
be a nightmare.
Xenoproteins have been made in the lab.
Oh, yeah, they could be poisonous. Or maybe just disgusting.
There's a Poul Anderson story in which an alien offers Flandry a
drink, and he takes a sip and spits it out, while his host says
"Awww, I forgot you can't take Jaleelian proteins, haw haw haw!"
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
www.kithrup.com/~djheydt/
D B Davis
2020-03-26 17:36:50 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Kevrob
Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
Post by Robert Carnegie
Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
Post by Robert Woodward
"A native Manticoran pathogen similar to a coronavirus has crossed over
and proven infectious to humans. There was an initial outbreak outbreak
of a respiratory illness roughly forty T-years ago. While it proved
dangerous to the elderly, it was deemed to be no more severe than the
common cold or a light influenza. What was not understood then, but is
understood now, is that this pathogen was able to mix??DNA??with existing
human coronaviruses; most of these mixes proved unstable and unable to
reproduce. One of them proved to be both infectious and to have a
protein shell that triggered extreme immunoglobin responses"
Uff. That's some pretty shoddy biology groundwork being shown.
If you're worried about the story element of an
extraterrestrial virus infecting humans...
Not with it as a story element, no. Sure, it's far-fetched, but a lot of things
in sci-fi are far-fetched. (I'll quibble that it doesn't make sense to describe
an alien pathogen as "similar to a coronavirus" without explaining _how_ it is
similar to coronaviruses in particular -- it's a bit like saying you've
discovered a new species of dinosaur similar to the Borgia family, but fine,
that's just me being pedantic.) It's just that the explanation given for it
was shoddy (starting with corona viruses being RNA based and not DNA based.)
Don't get me wrong. It's just a minor niggle without any importance to the
story, and in context I wouldn't have cared much. But with the paragraph
standing on its own, free of the surrounding story, it just stood out.
Alien biota may not be able to interact with us the way
viruses and bacteria do, but couldn't "xenoproteins" of
alien origin be horribly poisonous? Waste products could
be a nightmare.
Xenoproteins have been made in the lab.
Oh, yeah, they could be poisonous. Or maybe just disgusting.
There's a Poul Anderson story in which an alien offers Flandry a
drink, and he takes a sip and spits it out, while his host says
"Awww, I forgot you can't take Jaleelian proteins, haw haw haw!"
Your followup introduced me to Anderson's Flandry series; apparently an
amped up James Bond, in a sfnal sense. If there's more to Jaleelian
proteins; chiral circumstantial talk and the like for instance, and its
not merely a throwaway line, is it possible for you to remember which
Flandry?
Xenoproteins; another tidbit to tantalize me in my quest for the
holy chirality, so to speak. The denouement of _Doorways in the Sand_,
at long last, was recently reached by me. In part, it reveals:

*spoiler space*


It exists then as a symbiote within that creature, obtaining
data by means of that being's nervous system as it goes about
its business. It operates on this material as something of
a sociological computer. In return for this, it keeps its
host in good repair indefinitely.

A similar symbiotic quid-pro-quo also happens in _Healer_ (Wilson),
which appears about a year after _Doorways_. What are the odds that
Wilson reimagineered the Zelazny?
For obsessions sake, allow me to share some search results.

Xenoprotein engineering via synthetic libraries
https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/115/23/E5298.full.pdf

Amino Acid Chirality
https://www.thoughtco.com/amino-acid-chirality-4009939

Toxicity of Xenobiotic Chemicals: 4 Modifying Factors | Toxicology
http://www.environmentalpollution.in/toxicology-2/xenobiotic-chemicals/toxicity-of-xenobiotic-chemicals-4-modifying-factors-toxicology/4524



Thank you,
--
Don.......My cat's )\._.,--....,'``.
telltale tall tail /, _.. \ _\ (`._ ,.
tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Dorothy J Heydt
2020-03-26 20:46:46 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by D B Davis
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Oh, yeah, they could be poisonous. Or maybe just disgusting.
There's a Poul Anderson story in which an alien offers Flandry a
drink, and he takes a sip and spits it out, while his host says
"Awww, I forgot you can't take Jaleelian proteins, haw haw haw!"
Your followup introduced me to Anderson's Flandry series; apparently an
amped up James Bond, in a sfnal sense. If there's more to Jaleelian
proteins; chiral circumstantial talk and the like for instance, and its
not merely a throwaway line, is it possible for you to remember which
Flandry?
Unfortunately, no. I bet I still have it in the shelves, along
with the other Flandries, but there's a fair number of them. It
was a throwaway line anyway, meant (if it meant anything) to show
that the alien had a warped sense of humor.
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
www.kithrup.com/~djheydt/
Robert Carnegie
2020-03-26 21:14:13 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by D B Davis
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Kevrob
Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
Post by Robert Carnegie
Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
Post by Robert Woodward
"A native Manticoran pathogen similar to a coronavirus has crossed over
and proven infectious to humans. There was an initial outbreak outbreak
of a respiratory illness roughly forty T-years ago. While it proved
dangerous to the elderly, it was deemed to be no more severe than the
common cold or a light influenza. What was not understood then, but is
understood now, is that this pathogen was able to mix??DNA??with existing
human coronaviruses; most of these mixes proved unstable and unable to
reproduce. One of them proved to be both infectious and to have a
protein shell that triggered extreme immunoglobin responses"
Uff. That's some pretty shoddy biology groundwork being shown.
If you're worried about the story element of an
extraterrestrial virus infecting humans...
Not with it as a story element, no. Sure, it's far-fetched, but a lot of things
in sci-fi are far-fetched. (I'll quibble that it doesn't make sense to describe
an alien pathogen as "similar to a coronavirus" without explaining _how_ it is
similar to coronaviruses in particular -- it's a bit like saying you've
discovered a new species of dinosaur similar to the Borgia family, but fine,
that's just me being pedantic.) It's just that the explanation given for it
was shoddy (starting with corona viruses being RNA based and not DNA based.)
Don't get me wrong. It's just a minor niggle without any importance to the
story, and in context I wouldn't have cared much. But with the paragraph
standing on its own, free of the surrounding story, it just stood out.
Alien biota may not be able to interact with us the way
viruses and bacteria do, but couldn't "xenoproteins" of
alien origin be horribly poisonous? Waste products could
be a nightmare.
Xenoproteins have been made in the lab.
Oh, yeah, they could be poisonous. Or maybe just disgusting.
There's a Poul Anderson story in which an alien offers Flandry a
drink, and he takes a sip and spits it out, while his host says
"Awww, I forgot you can't take Jaleelian proteins, haw haw haw!"
Your followup introduced me to Anderson's Flandry series; apparently an
amped up James Bond, in a sfnal sense. If there's more to Jaleelian
proteins; chiral circumstantial talk and the like for instance, and its
not merely a throwaway line, is it possible for you to remember which
Flandry?
Xenoproteins; another tidbit to tantalize me in my quest for the
holy chirality, so to speak. The denouement of _Doorways in the Sand_,
*spoiler space*
It exists then as a symbiote within that creature, obtaining
data by means of that being's nervous system as it goes about
its business. It operates on this material as something of
a sociological computer. In return for this, it keeps its
host in good repair indefinitely.
A similar symbiotic quid-pro-quo also happens in _Healer_ (Wilson),
which appears about a year after _Doorways_. What are the odds that
Wilson reimagineered the Zelazny?
There's a 1961 James White story and this is
basically a secret in it so I'll give the title as
"erfvqrag culfvpvna".
Michael F. Stemper
2020-03-27 16:57:32 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by D B Davis
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Kevrob
Alien biota may not be able to interact with us the way
viruses and bacteria do, but couldn't "xenoproteins" of
alien origin be horribly poisonous? Waste products could
be a nightmare.
Xenoproteins have been made in the lab.
Oh, yeah, they could be poisonous. Or maybe just disgusting.
There's a Poul Anderson story in which an alien offers Flandry a
drink, and he takes a sip and spits it out, while his host says
"Awww, I forgot you can't take Jaleelian proteins, haw haw haw!"
Your followup introduced me to Anderson's Flandry series; apparently an
amped up James Bond, in a sfnal sense. If there's more to Jaleelian
proteins; chiral circumstantial talk and the like for instance, and its
not merely a throwaway line, is it possible for you to remember which
Flandry?
Actually, it was David Falkayn, not Dominic Flandry.

The story is "A Sun Invisible":
<http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?45497>
It takes place nearly six centuries prior to Flandry's birth.
--
Michael F. Stemper
No animals were harmed in the composition of this message.
Dorothy J Heydt
2020-03-27 17:30:46 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Michael F. Stemper
Post by D B Davis
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Kevrob
Alien biota may not be able to interact with us the way
viruses and bacteria do, but couldn't "xenoproteins" of
alien origin be horribly poisonous? Waste products could
be a nightmare.
Xenoproteins have been made in the lab.
Oh, yeah, they could be poisonous. Or maybe just disgusting.
There's a Poul Anderson story in which an alien offers Flandry a
drink, and he takes a sip and spits it out, while his host says
"Awww, I forgot you can't take Jaleelian proteins, haw haw haw!"
Your followup introduced me to Anderson's Flandry series; apparently an
amped up James Bond, in a sfnal sense. If there's more to Jaleelian
proteins; chiral circumstantial talk and the like for instance, and its
not merely a throwaway line, is it possible for you to remember which
Flandry?
Actually, it was David Falkayn, not Dominic Flandry.
<http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?45497>
It takes place nearly six centuries prior to Flandry's birth.
I sit corrected! Thanks.
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
www.kithrup.com/~djheydt/
D B Davis
2020-03-27 18:10:12 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Michael F. Stemper
Post by D B Davis
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Kevrob
Alien biota may not be able to interact with us the way
viruses and bacteria do, but couldn't "xenoproteins" of
alien origin be horribly poisonous? Waste products could
be a nightmare.
Xenoproteins have been made in the lab.
Oh, yeah, they could be poisonous. Or maybe just disgusting.
There's a Poul Anderson story in which an alien offers Flandry a
drink, and he takes a sip and spits it out, while his host says
"Awww, I forgot you can't take Jaleelian proteins, haw haw haw!"
Your followup introduced me to Anderson's Flandry series; apparently an
amped up James Bond, in a sfnal sense. If there's more to Jaleelian
proteins; chiral circumstantial talk and the like for instance, and its
not merely a throwaway line, is it possible for you to remember which
Flandry?
Actually, it was David Falkayn, not Dominic Flandry.
<http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?45497>
It takes place nearly six centuries prior to Flandry's birth.
Muchas gracias. The Falkayn short's in the April 1966 _analog_ and
available as either digital or dead tree format in my collection. Here's
the pertinent passage:

"Ad fortunam tuam." Beljagor said with no great sincerity,
and tossed off half a liter.
Falkayn opened his mask at the mouth and did the same.
Then he spouted the liquid back, choked, coughed, and
fought not to vomit.
"Huh?" Beljagor stared. "What in the nine pustulant
hells-? Oh. I see. I forgot your breed can't stand Jaleelan
proteins." He slapped his thigh with a pistol noise. "Haw,
haw, haw!"

"nine pustulant hells" LOL. Apparently Anderson alludes to Dante's
circles.



Thank you,
--
Don.......My cat's )\._.,--....,'``.
telltale tall tail /, _.. \ _\ (`._ ,.
tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
J. Clarke
2020-03-26 21:42:27 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Robert Woodward
Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
Post by Robert Carnegie
Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
Post by Robert Woodward
"A native Manticoran pathogen similar to a coronavirus has crossed over
and proven infectious to humans. There was an initial outbreak outbreak
of a respiratory illness roughly forty T-years ago. While it proved
dangerous to the elderly, it was deemed to be no more severe than the
common cold or a light influenza. What was not understood then, but is
understood now, is that this pathogen was able to mix DNA with
existing
Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
Post by Robert Carnegie
Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
Post by Robert Woodward
human coronaviruses; most of these mixes proved unstable and unable to
reproduce. One of them proved to be both infectious and to have a
protein shell that triggered extreme immunoglobin responses"
Uff. That's some pretty shoddy biology groundwork being shown.
If you're worried about the story element of an
extraterrestrial virus infecting humans...
Not with it as a story element, no. Sure, it's far-fetched, but a lot
of things
Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
in sci-fi are far-fetched. (I'll quibble that it doesn't make sense to
describe
Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
an alien pathogen as "similar to a coronavirus" without explaining _how_ it is
similar to coronaviruses in particular -- it's a bit like saying you've
discovered a new species of dinosaur similar to the Borgia family, but fine,
that's just me being pedantic.) It's just that the explanation given for it
was shoddy (starting with corona viruses being RNA based and not DNA based.)
Don't get me wrong. It's just a minor niggle without any importance to the
story, and in context I wouldn't have cared much. But with the paragraph
standing on its own, free of the surrounding story, it just stood out.
Alien biota may not be able to interact with us the way
viruses and bacteria do, but couldn't "xenoproteins" of
alien origin be horribly poisonous? Waste products could
be a nightmare.
Xenoproteins have been made in the lab.
Oh, yeah, they could be poisonous. Or maybe just disgusting.
There's a Poul Anderson story in which an alien offers Flandry a
drink, and he takes a sip and spits it out, while his host says
"Awww, I forgot you can't take Jaleelian proteins, haw haw haw!"
Then there's the reverse xenoprotein where van Rijn gets an ET leader
mad enough to bite van Rijn. Which did not end well for ET.
p***@hotmail.com
2020-03-26 01:50:16 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
Post by Robert Carnegie
Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
Post by Robert Woodward
"A native Manticoran pathogen similar to a coronavirus has crossed over
and proven infectious to humans. There was an initial outbreak outbreak
of a respiratory illness roughly forty T-years ago. While it proved
dangerous to the elderly, it was deemed to be no more severe than the
common cold or a light influenza. What was not understood then, but is
understood now, is that this pathogen was able to mix DNA with existing
human coronaviruses; most of these mixes proved unstable and unable to
reproduce. One of them proved to be both infectious and to have a
protein shell that triggered extreme immunoglobin responses"
Uff. That's some pretty shoddy biology groundwork being shown.
If you're worried about the story element of an
extraterrestrial virus infecting humans...
Not with it as a story element, no. Sure, it's far-fetched, but a lot of things
in sci-fi are far-fetched. (I'll quibble that it doesn't make sense to describe
an alien pathogen as "similar to a coronavirus" without explaining _how_ it is
similar to coronaviruses in particular -- it's a bit like saying you've
discovered a new species of dinosaur similar to the Borgia family, but fine,
that's just me being pedantic.) It's just that the explanation given for it
was shoddy (starting with corona viruses being RNA based and not DNA based.)
Don't get me wrong. It's just a minor niggle without any importance to the
story, and in context I wouldn't have cared much. But with the paragraph
standing on its own, free of the surrounding story, it just stood out.
In one of Robert Heinlein's stories, possibly _Space Cadet_, it is mentioned
specifically that at one time in the future it was assumed that an
extraterrestrial pathogen could not possibly affect a terrestrial host,
and that once people actually traveled to Venus this assumption turned
out to be horribly wrong. In _The Puppet Masters_ the fact that Venerian
"nine day fever" affects both humans and the Titan slugs is a major
plot point. In _Podkayne of Mars_, when the Fries family travels to
Venus they have to get a large number of inoculations against the
diseases of that planet (I don't want to use the term Venerian diseases).

Peter Wezeman
anti-social Darwinist
D B Davis
2020-03-26 14:22:30 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
Post by Robert Carnegie
Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
Post by Robert Woodward
"A native Manticoran pathogen similar to a coronavirus has crossed over
and proven infectious to humans. There was an initial outbreak outbreak
of a respiratory illness roughly forty T-years ago. While it proved
dangerous to the elderly, it was deemed to be no more severe than the
common cold or a light influenza. What was not understood then, but is
understood now, is that this pathogen was able to mix?DNA?with existing
human coronaviruses; most of these mixes proved unstable and unable to
reproduce. One of them proved to be both infectious and to have a
protein shell that triggered extreme immunoglobin responses"
Uff. That's some pretty shoddy biology groundwork being shown.
If you're worried about the story element of an
extraterrestrial virus infecting humans...
Not with it as a story element, no. Sure, it's far-fetched, but a lot of things
in sci-fi are far-fetched. (I'll quibble that it doesn't make sense to describe
an alien pathogen as "similar to a coronavirus" without explaining _how_ it is
similar to coronaviruses in particular -- it's a bit like saying you've
discovered a new species of dinosaur similar to the Borgia family, but fine,
that's just me being pedantic.) It's just that the explanation given for it
was shoddy (starting with corona viruses being RNA based and not DNA based.)
Don't get me wrong. It's just a minor niggle without any importance to the
story, and in context I wouldn't have cared much. But with the paragraph
standing on its own, free of the surrounding story, it just stood out.
The fact that coronavirus is an RNA virus [1] was unknown to me until
yesterday. Is this the shoddy part of the story?

this pathogen was able to mix?DNA?with existing human
coronaviruses; most of these mixes proved unstable and
unable to reproduce. One of them proved to be both infectious
and to have a protein shell that triggered extreme immunoglobin
responses

What else is shoddy?

Note.

[1] https://drsarahlarsen.com/2020/01/corona-virus-is-an-rna-virus-difference-between-a-virus-and-bacteria/



Thank you,
--
Don.......My cat's )\._.,--....,'``.
telltale tall tail /, _.. \ _\ (`._ ,.
tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
D B Davis
2020-03-26 14:55:18 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by D B Davis
Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
Post by Robert Carnegie
Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
Post by Robert Woodward
"A native Manticoran pathogen similar to a coronavirus has crossed over
and proven infectious to humans. There was an initial outbreak outbreak
of a respiratory illness roughly forty T-years ago. While it proved
dangerous to the elderly, it was deemed to be no more severe than the
common cold or a light influenza. What was not understood then, but is
understood now, is that this pathogen was able to mix?DNA?with existing
human coronaviruses; most of these mixes proved unstable and unable to
reproduce. One of them proved to be both infectious and to have a
protein shell that triggered extreme immunoglobin responses"
Uff. That's some pretty shoddy biology groundwork being shown.
If you're worried about the story element of an
extraterrestrial virus infecting humans...
Not with it as a story element, no. Sure, it's far-fetched, but a lot of things
in sci-fi are far-fetched. (I'll quibble that it doesn't make sense to describe
an alien pathogen as "similar to a coronavirus" without explaining _how_ it is
similar to coronaviruses in particular -- it's a bit like saying you've
discovered a new species of dinosaur similar to the Borgia family, but fine,
that's just me being pedantic.) It's just that the explanation given for it
was shoddy (starting with corona viruses being RNA based and not DNA based.)
Don't get me wrong. It's just a minor niggle without any importance to the
story, and in context I wouldn't have cared much. But with the paragraph
standing on its own, free of the surrounding story, it just stood out.
The fact that coronavirus is an RNA virus [1] was unknown to me until
yesterday. Is this the shoddy part of the story?
this pathogen was able to mix?DNA?with existing human
coronaviruses; most of these mixes proved unstable and
unable to reproduce. One of them proved to be both infectious
and to have a protein shell that triggered extreme immunoglobin
responses
What else is shoddy?
Note.
[1] https://drsarahlarsen.com/2020/01/corona-virus-is-an-rna-virus-difference-between-a-virus-and-bacteria/
Besides the RNA/DNA niggle, what else do you see that's shoddy?


(Hopefully my sig's cat didn't get Moldskred's tongue.)



Thank you,
--
Don.......My cat's )\._.,--....,'``.
telltale tall tail /, _.. \ _\ (`._ ,.
tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Leif Roar Moldskred
2020-03-26 14:57:17 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by D B Davis
The fact that coronavirus is an RNA virus [1] was unknown to me until
yesterday. Is this the shoddy part of the story?
That's the most egregious error, but it's more the sum of the parts. If an
alien pathogen can infect humans in the first place, then it shouldn't be
much of a surprise that it might also interact with other Earth-evolved
organisms such as viruses. It doesn't really make sense to say that an
alien pathogen is similar to a specific type of earth pathogen without
clarifying how it is similar. The phrasing "most of these mixes proved
unstable and unable to reproduce" suggests a view of viruses as self-
replicating, which they're not. Corono viruses don't have an outer
protein shell, but instead a lipid envelope. And finally, a pathogen
triggers extreme immunoglobin responses might be very virulent and have
a high mortality, but it's not likely to spread widely as it is likely
to be detected or even kill its host before it's had the chance to
infect others.

Not that I expect people to go around knowing most of this. (I didn't
know half of that until COVID-19 suddenlly made corona viruses popular.)
But I _do_ think a sci-fi writer ought to read up a little on the
science he puts into his books, even when it's not hard science fiction
and even when it's a science he doesn't care about.
--
Leif Roar Moldskred
D B Davis
2020-03-26 17:37:00 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
Post by D B Davis
The fact that coronavirus is an RNA virus [1] was unknown to me until
yesterday. Is this the shoddy part of the story?
That's the most egregious error, but it's more the sum of the parts. If an
alien pathogen can infect humans in the first place, then it shouldn't be
much of a surprise that it might also interact with other Earth-evolved
organisms such as viruses. It doesn't really make sense to say that an
alien pathogen is similar to a specific type of earth pathogen without
clarifying how it is similar. The phrasing "most of these mixes proved
unstable and unable to reproduce" suggests a view of viruses as self-
replicating, which they're not. Corono viruses don't have an outer
protein shell, but instead a lipid envelope. And finally, a pathogen
triggers extreme immunoglobin responses might be very virulent and have
a high mortality, but it's not likely to spread widely as it is likely
to be detected or even kill its host before it's had the chance to
infect others.
Not that I expect people to go around knowing most of this. (I didn't
know half of that until COVID-19 suddenlly made corona viruses popular.)
But I _do_ think a sci-fi writer ought to read up a little on the
science he puts into his books, even when it's not hard science fiction
and even when it's a science he doesn't care about.
That helps. My recent fascination with chirality caused coronavirus
curiosity to awaken in me. Chirality; along with relentless mass media
coverage about how bad it really is, with attendant dubious pols (on
both sides of the aisle) who possibly adhere to Alinsky's aspirational
advice to "never let a crisis go to waste."
But, that's me.



Thank you,
--
Don.......My cat's )\._.,--....,'``.
telltale tall tail /, _.. \ _\ (`._ ,.
tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
David Johnston
2020-03-26 22:56:36 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
Post by D B Davis
The fact that coronavirus is an RNA virus [1] was unknown to me until
yesterday. Is this the shoddy part of the story?
That's the most egregious error, but it's more the sum of the parts. If an
alien pathogen can infect humans in the first place, then it shouldn't be
much of a surprise that it might also interact with other Earth-evolved
organisms such as viruses. It doesn't really make sense to say that an
alien pathogen is similar to a specific type of earth pathogen without
clarifying how it is similar. The phrasing "most of these mixes proved
unstable and unable to reproduce" suggests a view of viruses as self-
replicating, which they're not. Corono viruses don't have an outer
protein shell, but instead a lipid envelope. And finally, a pathogen
triggers extreme immunoglobin responses might be very virulent and have
a high mortality, but it's not likely to spread widely as it is likely
to be detected or even kill its host before it's had the chance to
infect others.
The explanation for the mortality rate of the fictional virus is cribbed
from the explanation for the so-called Spanish Flu.
D B Davis
2020-03-26 13:42:25 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Robert Woodward
Some might say that, since the reference I found to coronavirus was in
an Honorverse Info-Dump, it isn't science fiction. In the 1998
anthology, _More than Honor_, there was long article on the Honorverse
background, including a history of Manticore. This history mentioned a
plague that killed a large fraction of the colony several decades after
the founding. When _A Beautiful Friendship*_ was released in 2011, there
was a story posted on the Baen website. This story consisted of a letter
that Stephanie Harrington sent to a friend back on Meyerdahl (the planet
the Harringtons had emigrated from). The letter included an attached
Immigration Brochure on Sphinx. The last bit had a more extensive
"A native Manticoran pathogen similar to a coronavirus has crossed over
and proven infectious to humans. There was an initial outbreak outbreak
of a respiratory illness roughly forty T-years ago. While it proved
dangerous to the elderly, it was deemed to be no more severe than the
common cold or a light influenza. What was not understood then, but is
understood now, is that this pathogen was able to mix?DNA?with existing
human coronaviruses; most of these mixes proved unstable and unable to
reproduce. One of them proved to be both infectious and to have a
protein shell that triggered extreme immunoglobin responses"
(this second wave was the killer, it went through multiple mutations
that defeated attempts to create a vaccine for over a decade - killing
over half of the original colonists and a lesser-fraction of their
Manticore-born children)
*"A Beautiful Friendship" was originally a 32k novella, published in
1998; that part was expanded and an new sequence was after after that).
Your excerpt encloses the acronym DNA in a pair of question marks. Those
question marks do not appear in the original "Honorverse Tech Bu9" [1]
text. In case you were wondering, yesterday a CRNA pointedly told me
that coronavirus is an RNA virus. [2]
This CRNA believes that COVID-19 was human engineered, has a
mortality rate on par with the flu, was accidentally released, and is
being hyped by mass media. The recent hantavirus fatality in China [3]
concerns him more; most mass media apparently see it differently.

Note.

[1] https://www.baen.com/free-short-stories-2011.html
[2] https://drsarahlarsen.com/2020/01/corona-virus-is-an-rna-virus-difference-between-a-virus-and-bacteria/
[3] https://search.yahoo.com/search?p=hantavirus+in+china



Thank you,
--
Don.......My cat's )\._.,--....,'``.
telltale tall tail /, _.. \ _\ (`._ ,.
tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Leif Roar Moldskred
2020-03-26 13:59:53 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by D B Davis
This CRNA believes that COVID-19 was human engineered, has a
mortality rate on par with the flu, was accidentally released, and is
being hyped by mass media. The recent hantavirus fatality in China [3]
concerns him more; most mass media apparently see it differently.
Maybe he should check Snopes:

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/hantavirus-china/
Post by D B Davis
[2] https://drsarahlarsen.com/2020/01/corona-virus-is-an-rna-virus-difference-between-a-virus-and-bacteria/
What an odd choice of source.
--
Leif Roar Moldskred
D B Davis
2020-03-26 14:40:40 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
Post by D B Davis
This CRNA believes that COVID-19 was human engineered, has a
mortality rate on par with the flu, was accidentally released, and is
being hyped by mass media. The recent hantavirus fatality in China [3]
concerns him more; most mass media apparently see it differently.
https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/hantavirus-china/
Post by D B Davis
[2] https://drsarahlarsen.com/2020/01/corona-virus-is-an-rna-virus-difference-between-a-virus-and-bacteria/
What an odd choice of source.
A less than desirable source sometimes shows up when a thoughtful poster
takes the trouble to provide pertinent links as a courtesy to his
readers.



Thank you,
--
Don.......My cat's )\._.,--....,'``.
telltale tall tail /, _.. \ _\ (`._ ,.
tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Chrysi Cat
2020-03-27 04:06:31 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Leif Roar Moldskred
Post by D B Davis
This CRNA believes that COVID-19 was human engineered, has a
mortality rate on par with the flu, was accidentally released, and is
being hyped by mass media. The recent hantavirus fatality in China [3]
concerns him more; most mass media apparently see it differently.
https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/hantavirus-china/
Post by D B Davis
[2] https://drsarahlarsen.com/2020/01/corona-virus-is-an-rna-virus-difference-between-a-virus-and-bacteria/
What an odd choice of source.
The problem here is that unless it was actually COVID-19 set up for an
opportunistic infection via the Asian hantavirus, that _is_ the first
case I've ever heard of of _Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome_ caused by
proximity to Old World murids.

And that _could_ be a big deal. Note where it says that Asia's
hantavirus problem is haemorrhagic fever, whereas _this_ showed no
symptoms of his kidneys bleeding out and plenty of symptoms consistent
with the /Sin Nombre/ family of hantaviruses.

New World mice don't typically try to be commensal in the same way as
Old world ones; they stay reasonably far away from humans even if
they're using a human building for shelter, and typically you catch Sin
Nombre from running across a deer-mouse midden while you're cleaning out
the garage (if rodents close to humans were a problem, the US would be
going through a billion units of various antibiotics a year for Yersinia
pestis infections--plague bacteria are in over half of western-US
rodents, but it takes bad luck to get them close enough for their fleas
to jump to a human).

Old World mice are close companions of humanity, so if they now have a
Sin Nombre-type hantavirus (or if the actual Sin Nombre was somehow
spread to Old World mice), there could be a _bit_ of a problem.
Especially when we've been cooping humans up with them 24-7 for the last
eight weeks. Still mainly spreads via their leavings, but those are in a
lot closer proximity than Peromyscus'.

Although I will grant it's less likely to become a _pandemic_ because
hantaviruses simply _cannot_ evolve human-to-human transmission.
--
Chrysi Cat
1/2 anthrocat, nearly 1/2 anthrofox, all magical
Transgoddess, quick to anger.
Call me Chrysi or call me Kat, I'll respond to either!
David Johnston
2020-03-26 14:53:51 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by D B Davis
Post by Robert Woodward
Some might say that, since the reference I found to coronavirus was in
an Honorverse Info-Dump, it isn't science fiction. In the 1998
anthology, _More than Honor_, there was long article on the Honorverse
background, including a history of Manticore. This history mentioned a
plague that killed a large fraction of the colony several decades after
the founding. When _A Beautiful Friendship*_ was released in 2011, there
was a story posted on the Baen website. This story consisted of a letter
that Stephanie Harrington sent to a friend back on Meyerdahl (the planet
the Harringtons had emigrated from). The letter included an attached
Immigration Brochure on Sphinx. The last bit had a more extensive
"A native Manticoran pathogen similar to a coronavirus has crossed over
and proven infectious to humans. There was an initial outbreak outbreak
of a respiratory illness roughly forty T-years ago. While it proved
dangerous to the elderly, it was deemed to be no more severe than the
common cold or a light influenza. What was not understood then, but is
understood now, is that this pathogen was able to mix?DNA?with existing
human coronaviruses; most of these mixes proved unstable and unable to
reproduce. One of them proved to be both infectious and to have a
protein shell that triggered extreme immunoglobin responses"
(this second wave was the killer, it went through multiple mutations
that defeated attempts to create a vaccine for over a decade - killing
over half of the original colonists and a lesser-fraction of their
Manticore-born children)
*"A Beautiful Friendship" was originally a 32k novella, published in
1998; that part was expanded and an new sequence was after after that).
Your excerpt encloses the acronym DNA in a pair of question marks. Those
question marks do not appear in the original "Honorverse Tech Bu9" [1]
text. In case you were wondering, yesterday a CRNA pointedly told me
that coronavirus is an RNA virus. [2]
This CRNA believes that COVID-19 was human engineered, has a
mortality rate on par with the flu, was accidentally released, and is
being hyped by mass media. The recent hantavirus fatality in China [3]
concerns him more; most mass media apparently see it differently.
Why would he simultaneously believe that it was human engineered and
nothing special? Those are mutually contradictory propositions.
D B Davis
2020-03-26 15:13:43 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by David Johnston
Post by D B Davis
Post by Robert Woodward
Some might say that, since the reference I found to coronavirus was in
an Honorverse Info-Dump, it isn't science fiction. In the 1998
anthology, _More than Honor_, there was long article on the Honorverse
background, including a history of Manticore. This history mentioned a
plague that killed a large fraction of the colony several decades after
the founding. When _A Beautiful Friendship*_ was released in 2011, there
was a story posted on the Baen website. This story consisted of a letter
that Stephanie Harrington sent to a friend back on Meyerdahl (the planet
the Harringtons had emigrated from). The letter included an attached
Immigration Brochure on Sphinx. The last bit had a more extensive
"A native Manticoran pathogen similar to a coronavirus has crossed over
and proven infectious to humans. There was an initial outbreak outbreak
of a respiratory illness roughly forty T-years ago. While it proved
dangerous to the elderly, it was deemed to be no more severe than the
common cold or a light influenza. What was not understood then, but is
understood now, is that this pathogen was able to mix?DNA?with existing
human coronaviruses; most of these mixes proved unstable and unable to
reproduce. One of them proved to be both infectious and to have a
protein shell that triggered extreme immunoglobin responses"
(this second wave was the killer, it went through multiple mutations
that defeated attempts to create a vaccine for over a decade - killing
over half of the original colonists and a lesser-fraction of their
Manticore-born children)
*"A Beautiful Friendship" was originally a 32k novella, published in
1998; that part was expanded and an new sequence was after after that).
Your excerpt encloses the acronym DNA in a pair of question marks. Those
question marks do not appear in the original "Honorverse Tech Bu9" [1]
text. In case you were wondering, yesterday a CRNA pointedly told me
that coronavirus is an RNA virus. [2]
This CRNA believes that COVID-19 was human engineered, has a
mortality rate on par with the flu, was accidentally released, and is
being hyped by mass media. The recent hantavirus fatality in China [3]
concerns him more; most mass media apparently see it differently.
Why would he simultaneously believe that it was human engineered and
nothing special? Those are mutually contradictory propositions.
Although only he can answer your question, it may concern COVID's
mortality rate coupled with recursive Debunkers Debunking Debunkers
(DDD):

China owns Nature magazine's ass - Debunking "The proximal origin of
SARS-CoV-2" claiming COVID-19 definitely wasn't from a lab
https://harvardtothebighouse.com/2020/03/19/china-owns-nature-magazines-ass-debunking-the-proximal-origin-of-sars-cov-2-claiming-covid-19-wasnt-from-a-lab/

Is it plausible for China, or rather a group from China, to figuratively
own _Nature_ as Bezos literally owns the WaPo?



Thank you,
--
Don.......My cat's )\._.,--....,'``.
telltale tall tail /, _.. \ _\ (`._ ,.
tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
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