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Memories of the 28th Century

Corona Virus

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I became interested in Corona Viruses several year ago, because I was planning a novel that would include the Really Great Pandemic, and I wanted a suitable disease. I considered several candidates, including Yersinia Pestis, which causes Plague in its three forms, Influenza, which is a popular communicable disease, and a few others, but most of the other diseases didn't make it past the initial review, because they were too difficult to spread, or they were too difficult to obtain. I used Plague in my first novel, but I wasn't satisfied Influenza is common, easily spread, and sometimes quite lethal, so it remained in consideration for some time. Corona virus has all of the advantages of Influenza, but it is less well known; SARS was the only well known outbreak, even though Corona has been around for a long time. The eventual tiebreaker between influenza and Corona was the possibility of tailoring it. Influenza has a single long strand of genetic material, so there are not a lot of places to add or alter genes. Corona has a relatively large genome and it has those spikes that match with sites on targets, so the possibility for tailoring is huge. From what we know now, military biological weapons groups also found it a good candidate for tailoring.

The basic Corona Virus is relatively innocuous, causing cold symptoms, but it also attacks the lungs, which Rhinovirus does not do, and that was what gave it greater potential, but it has attacked a wide variety of mammals for a long time, so it had become less virulent, so it could use the mammals more easily. I didn't go into the details much, but removing that habituation was necessary, and using a targetting gene in one or more spikes. Viruses that kill their hosts don't usually do well, because killing the host limits the amount of spreading that is possible. As an example, consider the common cold, which seems to have been attacking humans for millions of years, and in addition to the habituation, the cold virus attacks and kills certain kinds of cancerous cells, including melanoma and one kind of lung cancer. Because of its benevolent aspects, humans have not developed a complete defense against Rhino Virus. While Corona Virus is not as well tied in with humans, it has been infecting some mammals for a very long time, so it usually limits the extent of its attacks.

For my novel, I made the virus much more virulent, but in the real world, it is slightly more virulent than are wild examples, and in the novel, it also has a strange variation that makes it quite desirable, when it does not kill.

As a result of my research into Corona viruses, in regard to the current pandemic, I came to the conclusion that fighting the virus was not productive; although it did save some lives. A good vaccine would have been wonderful, but there were no vaccines initially, and they didn't become available until the pandemic had gone around the world. It would have been as effective to simply let the virus run its course. That would have resulted a some more fatal infections, but it would have spread the virus to more people more quickly, and most of the people infected would have gained some immunity, and that immunity probably would have been enough to stop later waves of the disease. When vaccines eventually were made, they could have been given to whoever wanted them, regardless of whether they had the infection.

That strategy may be somewhat hard hearted, but it probably would have been best for the most people. Keep in mind that many, or most, of the people who have died from Covid had serious underlying conditions; conditions that might have been fatal at any time. But allowing people to gain natural immunity would have stopped the spread of the disease, and that would have saved many lives, and it would have lessened the economic damage done by the pandemic by ending it sooner. I realize that many people want to keep as many people as possible for as long as possible, but the price is lower quality of life and sometimes economic losses.

For other comments on Corona virus, you might read my novel Causation and my short story “Genetic Target”. “Genetic Target is in the collection of short stories Crime and Time, and both books are available on Both the novel and the short story were written before Covid19 appeared.


  1. Danik 2016's Avatar
    All I can saY, Peter L, is that in my country the vaccine made and is still making all the difference. Things would be infinitively worse without it.