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The Eyes of Darkness by Dean Koontz

This is just a little spooky. And only partially true…

This is a novel written in 1995!

The value of science fiction.

So is it true?

Most of the claims circulating on social media show the book’s cover and a page in the book mentioning a virus called “Wuhan-400”. The widely circulated photo of Koontz’s book page includes some highlighted text reading: “They call the stuff ‘Wuhan-400’ because it was developed at their RDNA labs outside of the city of Wuhan, and It was the four-hundredth viable strain of man-made microorganisms created at that research center”.

Some claims circulating also include an additional page that mentions the year 2020 and the outbreak of a “severe pneumonia-like illness”.

This is partly false. While it is true that Koontz wrote about a fictional virus in his novel and that its name “Wuhan-400” refers the Chinese city in which the 2019 Coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) (here) actually started, the illness in his book doesn’t share more traits with COVID-19.

In his novel, Koontz described “Wuhan-400” as “China’s most important and dangerous: new biological weapon in a decade”. He also wrote it was developed by labs outside of the city of Wuhan.

There is no proof that the new coronavirus was created in a lab. The virus is believed to have originated late last year in a food market in Wuhan that was illegally selling wildlife (see here). Health experts think it may have originated in bats and then passed to humans, possibly via another species.

Reuters looked at further references of “Wuhan-400” in Koontz’s book.

The symptoms and behavior of Koontz’s “Wuhan-400” are very different to COVID-19. In the novel, the virus has an incubation period of “only four hours”. COVID-19’s incubation period is between 1-14 days. According to World Health Organization (here), the most common incubation time is around five days.

Koontz also describes “Wuhan-400” as a disease with a “kill-rate” of a 100%. “Once infected, no one lives more than twenty-four hours. Most die in twelve”, he writes. COVID-19’s death rate is far from this, according to the WHO, the case-fatality rate is between 2% and 4% in Wuhan and 0.7% outside Wuhan (here).

The symptoms described by Koontz are different to COVID-19. In his novel, “Wuhan-400” causes the secretion of a “toxin that literally eats away brain tissue” causing loss of control of bodily function. “The victim simply ceases to have a pulse, functioning organs, or any urge to breathe”, writes Koontz. Meanwhile COVID-19 infections have a wide range of symptoms, including fever, coughing, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Mild cases can cause cold-like symptoms, while severe cases can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory illness, kidney failure and death.”



Posted on: March 24, 2020, 6:13 am Category: Uncategorized

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