In a bizarre coincidence, a 1981 fictional novel The Eyes of Darkness by Dean Koontz predicts a Coronavirus like outbreak and its origin. The book talks about how the virus called Wuhan-400, was developed in military labs around the Chinese city of Wuhan from where it got its name. The top secret information of the Biological weapons Program is later acquired by US intelligence from a Chinese defector. The American military is ultimately successful in creating a vaccine which the Chinese could not.
The Eyes of Darkness is a thriller novel by American writer Dean Koontz, released in 1981. The book focuses on a mother who sets out on a quest to find out if her son truly did die one year ago, or if he is still alive.
A mother sends her son on a camping trip with a leader who has led this trip into the mountains 16 times before without mishap; that is until this time. Every single camper and leader and driver die with no explanation. As the grieving mother who is the protagonist begins to accept the fact that her son, Danny, is dead she starts getting vicious bully-like attacks from nowhere saying he is not dead, such as writing on chalk boards, words from printers and other various ‘signs’. Along with her new friend, Elliot Stryker, Christina Evans sets out to find out what could have possibly happened on the day that her son ‘died’.
Excerpts on Wuhan-400
To understand that you have to go back twenty months. It was around then that a Chinese scientist named Li Chen defected to the United States, carrying a diskette record of China’s most important and dangerous new biological weapon in a decade. 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.
Wuhan-400 is a perfect weapon. It afflicts only human beings. No other living creature can carry it. And like syphilis, Wuhan-400 can’t survive outside a living human body for longer than a minute, which means it can’t permanently contaminate objects or entire places the way anthrax and other virulent microorganisms can. And when the host expires, the Wuhan-400 within him perishes a short while later, as soon as the temperature of the corpse drops below eighty-six degrees Fahrenheit. Do you see the advantage of all this?
The Chinese could use Wuhan-400 to wipe out a city or a country, and then there wouldn’t be any need for them to conduct a tricky and expensive decontamination before they moved in and took over the conquered territory.
And Wuhan-400 has other, equally important advantages over most biological agents. For one thing, you can become an infectious carrier only four hours after coming into contact with the virus. That’s an incredibly short incubation period. Once infected, no one lives more than twenty-four hours. Most die in twelve. It’s worse than the Ebola virus in Africa – infinitely worse. Wuhan-400’s kill-rate is one hundred percent. No one is supposed to survive.
The Chinese tested it on God knows how many political prisoners. They were never able to find an antibody or an antibiotic that was effective against it. The virus migrates to the brain stem, and there it begins secreting a toxin that literally eats away brain tissue like battery acid dissolving cheesecloth. It destroys the part of the brain that controls all of the body’s autonomic functions. The victim simply ceases to have a pulse, functioning organs, or any urge to breathe.
After Li Chen defected with all the data on Wuhan-400, he was brought here (US military facility). We immediately began working with him, trying to engineer an exact duplicate of the virus. In relatively short order we accomplished that. Then we began to study the bug, searching for a handle on it that the Chinese had overlooked.
Someone got careless and stupid. Almost thirteen months ago, when the boys were on their winter survival outing, one of our scientists accidentally contaminated himself while he was working alone one morning in this lab.
You’re trained what to do from the day you start to work here. In the event of accidental contamination, you immediately set off an alarm. Immediately. Then you seal the room you’re working in. If there’s an adjoining isolation chamber, you’re supposed to go into it and lock the door after yourself.
A decontamination crew moves in swiftly to clean up whatever mess you’ve made in the lab. And if you’ve infected yourself with something curable, you’ll be treated. If it’s not curable . . . you’ll be attended to in isolation until you die. That’s one reason our pay scale is so high. Hazardous-duty pay. The risk is part of the job.