Fictional virus in “Contagion” could be real

Scientists claim that the fictional virus that started the pandemic in the new horror movie “Contagion” could be real. They state it is “very plausible” that such a virus exists and manifests in a way similar to what we see in the movie, Associated Press reports.

The experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe that a virus like the one presented in Contagion has all the chances of being real. But don’t start panicking just yet. Dr. Thomas Frieden, the head of the Center says that “it’s very plausible” in the sense that the fiction virus has the characteristics of all viruses that would start a pandemic. The only thing that is out of proportions is the idea of a virus that is both very contagious and kills in such an alarming time.

The creators of Contagion have spent a lot of money and other resources in trying to give as much realism to the movie as they can. The have consulted real epidemiologists in order to get all the details correct. One of the scientists they collaborated closely with was the esteemed Dr. W. Ian Lipkin from Columbia University.

The actors were involved in those efforts as well. For example, Kate Winslet followed closely a CDC disease investigator in order to study the way she ought to behave and speak while impersonating one. And the results were better than expected CDC experts believe it’s a success. “It was very accurate”, said Laura Gieraltowski, who is an expert in foodborne conditions.

There are, however, some aspects in the movie that would not happen as shown.  One of them is the government’s decision to send only one investigator in the field. It the situation were for real, several investigator would be dispatched and they would be accompanied by other staff. Another one would be the killing rate of the virus. In the movie, it kills 1 in 5 people. In reality, a virus that contagious could kill 1 in 100 people. The explanation of the experts it’s simple. A virus which is that deadly does not give the infected too much time to infect other individuals, which stops the pandemic to a limited epidemic at most.

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1 Comment

  1. The statement that said “The only thing that is out of proportions is the idea of a virus that is both very contagious and kills in such an alarming time” is incorrect. There are most definitely viruses out there that can kill at an alarming rate. Read up on Ebola. That virus kills 9 out of 10 people.

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