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Thread: Could disease be controlled?

  1. #1 Could disease be controlled? 
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    Hypothetically speaking

    Could someone or a government develop a disease and have it target and effect only certain individuals?

    for example could everyone who gets a dose of say a vaccine be immune to a disease?

    Like if I invented a disease and wanted to use it on India to kill 95% of the population, how much would I have to fear of that disease spreading? and would it be possible that the disease only effects individuals of certain races? also could the disease only effect those who have not gotten certain vaccines?


    I am just wondering. I am sure everyone has watched movies in which governments made viruses to kill off large quantities of people, I just wonder how easily it could be done and at that how do you make sure it does not get out of hand?

    By making a disease don't you run the risk of your vaccine not working? and don't you run the risk of the disease getting stronger?


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    The problem with microscopic life is that it goes through many many generations in a short period of time. Once introduced, you wouldn't be able to get rid of it and it WOULD mutate.


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    has lost interest seagypsy's Avatar
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    I was married to a guy who was schizophrenic and insisted that the government invented AIDS to get rid of black people but that it got out of control because white women can't resist black men, , the likelihood of success in an attempt like that would be ridiculously low. Not only for reasons that NF spoke of but because there are no pure races on the planet. There is not enough genetic variance between races to cause a virus to pick one and not another.

    There are genetic diseases that tend to only affect people of particular races but in order to infect and kill large numbers like that you would literally have to breed the disease into place or do major genetic alterations, which people tend to notice. They aren't just gonna let you mutate their genes for fun.
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    It's probably possible to come up with an artificial virus that would initially infect only people with a specific genetic marker. (This won't work for your race-based scenario because there are no genetic markers for race.) But once released into the wild, the virus will mutate and the idea that you could predict or restrict what form it might take in five or ten years time is extremely unlikely.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scifi2322 View Post
    Hypothetically speaking

    Could someone or a government develop a disease and have it target and effect only certain individuals?
    No, at least not yet. A virus mutates to quickly, and a bacterium isn't that discriminate. Prions and chemicals however can cause harm to some, while leaving others unharmed. But they are not technically a disease.


    for example could everyone who gets a dose of say a vaccine be immune to a disease?
    You couldn't sell that. Nobody would believe a story like, all white people must get shots. Black people will get suspicious. And will want the same shots, or not all white people would want them. Then why not poison the vaccin. This makes it a lot easier. No need for the disease in the first place.


    Like if I invented a disease and wanted to use it on India to kill 95% of the population, how much would I have to fear of that disease spreading? and would it be possible that the disease only effects individuals of certain races? also could the disease only effect those who have not gotten certain vaccines?
    Like no, you couldn't invent a disease. I don't know your credentials, but your question indicates little knowledge about epidemiology. But while your asking.. The fear about it spreading. Well 100% fear.. Killing 95% of the population without unleashing all out panic, and having millions of people... infected people, flee the country.. Impossible.. Races are 99,99% similar in DNA makeup. Nothing is THAT discriminate, and doesn't mutate..


    I am just wondering. I am sure everyone has watched movies in which governments made viruses to kill off large quantities of people, I just wonder how easily it could be done and at that how do you make sure it does not get out of hand?
    Movies also tell stories about a man who can fly and shoot laserbeams from it's eyes. I'd say, creating someone like that, is the same level of genetics as creating a virus, that only targets a certain population without getting out of hand.


    By making a disease don't you run the risk of your vaccine not working? and don't you run the risk of the disease getting stronger?
    Diseases don't get "stronger". There is inoculation, mortality, and spread, however. But stronger doesn't exist. As the strongest disease, in kill rate. That kills within milliseconds, can't spread, thus isn't strong. The rest of your question made no sense..
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    I don't think there has ever been a disease that killed 95%of a target population. The black death killed only a quarter of the population of europe. As has been pointed out the more rapid the infection rate and higher the mortality rate the smaller the number of people who can be infected before the sources die.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    I believe that todays technology could develop a virus that could be made to "target" certain types of people that carry certain marker genes like skin color as just one example.
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    im sure someday nanobots will be able to train to seek and destroy certain DNA patterns,
    however years ago i have heard that science cannot find any biological/genetic differences between races, except for the Chinese which carry unique earwax.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post
    I believe that todays technology could develop a virus that could be made to "target" certain types of people that carry certain marker genes like skin color as just one example.
    There is no gene for skin colour. Indeed asian's have one or some differences that could be significant enough, but blacks and whites are just too similar. And i doubt the gene that asians have could do the trick. Finding one that is stable enough for a virus to target, is luck..
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    Yes, there is a gene for melanogenesis.
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    Forum Professor Zwolver's Avatar
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    Yes, there is a gene for that, but everyone, except albino's have that gene..
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    Zwolver, I'm not following you. Yes, everyone has A gene for it, that gene differs by race- otherwise we wouldn't have different evolved races.

    I do not see any way, whatsever, that a virus could be engineered to target a race with that particular genetic trait, since that trait is minor compared with what a virus could attack. Nor does that trait make any person better or worse, more or less desirable.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scifi2322 View Post
    Hypothetically speaking

    Could someone or a government develop a disease and have it target and effect only certain individuals?

    for example could everyone who gets a dose of say a vaccine be immune to a disease?

    Like if I invented a disease and wanted to use it on India to kill 95% of the population, how much would I have to fear of that disease spreading? and would it be possible that the disease only effects individuals of certain races? also could the disease only effect those who have not gotten certain vaccines?
    The risk of spreading would probarbly depend on the type of disease you came up with, remember natural diseases are popping up all the time, some do spread quickly others not really so. But a government could develop such a disease, most likely it would try and mimic something naturally occurring as to avoid drawing suspicion. There was some suggestion a while back of a new flu vaccine that could prove effective against all types of flu, this was based on what was dubbed a 'super-antibody', and if a government could have perfected this vaccine then under your senario it could have vaccinated all the people it wanted to survive whilst just spreading some more deadly strains of naturally occurring flu strains in places where their targets were. They could even have used several different mutated strains of flu, this would make it hard for people to realise it was deliberate.


    Quote Originally Posted by scifi2322 View Post
    I am just wondering. I am sure everyone has watched movies in which governments made viruses to kill off large quantities of people, I just wonder how easily it could be done and at that how do you make sure it does not get out of hand?
    Movies tend to exaggerate senarios for the most dramatic affect, usually reasonally good precations are taken and if an outbreak did take place it would be tracked and stamped out fairly quickly, there are contingency plans in place for just about any possible outbreak you could think of, including if you could believe this one for zombies!

    Quote Originally Posted by scifi2322 View Post
    By making a disease don't you run the risk of your vaccine not working? and don't you run the risk of the disease getting stronger?
    Chances are that any sane government seeking to create such a biological weapon would also create an effective counter measure i.e a vaccine that actually worked, but theoretically I suppose mutations could take place and something more nasty coming about.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    Zwolver, I'm not following you. Yes, everyone has A gene for it, that gene differs by race- otherwise we wouldn't have different evolved races.

    I do not see any way, whatsever, that a virus could be engineered to target a race with that particular genetic trait, since that trait is minor compared with what a virus could attack. Nor does that trait make any person better or worse, more or less desirable.
    This trait is not entirely genetically stored. Epigenetically, and based on a number of other proteins that have a slight amino acid difference that make creating melanin more prevalent, and thus a person becomes black. This is also why there are dozends of gradations of skin colour, as not every culture, or person has the same number of proteins that promote this. However, these are not genes for being black, and the differences are in 1 or 2 amino acids, and this is FAR to small for a virus to target.

    I'm not saying it's desirable or better, just different. But usually, an entirely different gene, is enough for a virus to target.. However, it's not enough to make it a trustworthy virus, as they will mutate and target everyone..
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    I still cringe at that word "Epigenetics." Most probably due to a bias created by the misuse of the word that led me to a misconception.
    You can ask Sculptor...
    Thanks, that post made a lot of sense. I'm very ignorant on genetics, so bear with me.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    I guess what I should say is that there are certain genes that certain humans carry that others do not.
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