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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, July 08, 2004 - 10:44 am:   

I need to make up a scientific name for a virus or a bacteria or some microscopic entity, a mutant thing that's capable of infecting the human brain, causing delusions of a fantastic order, ones that seem absolutely real, a symbiote that passes from the blood after a time, after the host is removed from the area of contagion, but leaves lingering effects....

I know nothing of science and could make something up, but am fearful my invention might be so uniformed as to seem stupid. If anyone out there who wants to suggest an approrpiate name, I'd appreciate it....
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, July 08, 2004 - 11:20 am:   

http://www.bacterio.cict.fr/trueper.html
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, July 08, 2004 - 11:51 am:   

Hey, that's cool, Dave. Thanks!!!
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, July 08, 2004 - 12:31 pm:   

That there "internet" really has something for everyone!
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, July 08, 2004 - 12:44 pm:   

Pretty weird, huh?
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Kathy S.
Posted on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 08:31 am:   

Lucius --
You may want to decide whether you want this parasite to be a virus or a bacterium. Viruses are not technically alive, so AFAIK they are free of the ravages of binomial nomenclature. They are normally described on a family level, named after a condition they cause (Hepatitis virus, adenovirus, herpesvirus) or after their genetic peculiarities (Retroviruses). You can pretty much go to town with their names, as long as you attribute your new virus to an already existing family. How does dementovirus sound?
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 08:36 am:   

Kathy, yeah, a bacterium would actually be better. Are their ground rules for naming those?

Thanks...
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Kathy S.
Posted on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 08:46 am:   

Lucius -- The ground rules are pretty much summarized on the site Dave linked to (Hi, Dave!) If you want to play it safe, you can stick with inventing a new species of an already known genus -- Streptococcus, Bacillus, etc. Or name it after some guy (Streptococcus smithii, or some such). Is there a reason you prefer a bacterium? I'm asking because from your description I get the impression that your beastie crosses the blood-brain barrier, and very few bacteria can actually do that. Unless you're thinking of a bacterial toxin... hmmm. That would work, esp. consistent with the fact that it wears off after some time. Some LSD-like toxin? That would be cool! Oh, just make sure that your beasties are antibiotic resistant (thank you, medical porfession.)
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Matt Jarpe
Posted on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 09:49 am:   

I would stick with a virus if I were you. Viral meningitis is self-limiting in most cases (i.e. the patient gets over it via his own immune system) while bacterial meningitis is deadly. You could engineer the bacteria to decrease the lethality, but it would be easier starting with a virus. Viruses are also much easier to engineer because their genomes are much smaller and we know what every one of those genes is there for. You can break a viral genome into two pieces so the virus you make is crippled and can't replicate outside a cell line that you created for the purpose.

The company I work for has a virus that expresses beta-interferon. You inject it into a brain tumor and the viruses infect the tumor cells and kill them, kill their neighbors, and attract the immune system to mop up the survivors. There are lots of fun things you can do with viruses.
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Matt Jarpe
Posted on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 10:02 am:   

Here is a bit on viral meningitis: CDC

Two virus families that you could modify are named in the article. I like the name echovirus.
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 10:54 am:   

How about a frodovirus that shrinks the infected person, makes his/her eyes bug out and robs the person of all sexually differentiating characteristics?
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 10:57 am:   

Whoops, where are my manner? Hello, Kathy...
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 12:00 pm:   

Thanks, Kathy....Thanks, Matt...

the bacterial toxin...would that be a potion of bacteria, one bacterium...What?

Could a virus be engineered to have lingering effects?
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Matt Jarpe
Posted on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 12:22 pm:   

You could make a bacteria that can make a molecule that crosses the blood-brain barrier. A colony of the bacteria lives in a place where the body will tolerate it (the skin, the teeth, the intestine) and makes the drug, which leaks into the bloodstream and has the desired effect. You don't want the bacteria in the blood or brain or your guy will get sick and won't enjoy the effect of the drug.

You can get the virus to have effects that last as long as you want. If you're going for hours have the gene delivered and transcribed directly. If you want days or weeks, the gene can be incorporated into the DNA of a microglial cell which will stick around for a little while. If you want permanent, have the gene get into the DNA of a neuron, which lasts until the person dies.

Making viruses with genes that incorporate into DNA is considered bad for legitimate pharmaceutical applications. The FDA frowns on it and in fact there are huge regulatory hurdles for all gene therapy. But we do it to animals all the time. For that I'd go with something called a lentivirus. And the person who gets the gene is called a transgenic.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 12:54 pm:   

Hmmm. That sounds workable. Thanks, Matt...
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Kathy S.
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 10:10 am:   

Lucius --
You're quite welcome (anything for the person who wrote "The Man Who Painted the Dragon Griaule"). BTW, if you need a sciency type of person to read through the manuscript with an eye towards realism of the sciency stuff, I humbly volunteer.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 10:39 am:   

Kathy, Thanks..There's enough science in the mss to warrant anyone having to vet it. Actually, there's just going to be one passage. But when I write that passage (sometime in the next few days), I'd be very grateful to have you look at it..,
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 10:40 am:   

I meant to say, There's NOT enough science...
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Kathy S.
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 01:03 pm:   

Lucius --
I'll be honored.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 03:04 pm:   

Hey, Kathy....'preciate it....
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Kathy S.
Posted on Monday, July 12, 2004 - 07:21 am:   

Lucius --
You can e-mail me at katsedia@hotmail.com. Looking forward to it.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, July 12, 2004 - 08:02 am:   

Thanks, Kathy....It'll be a few days till I get to the place, but I will email.
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Rob
Posted on Monday, July 12, 2004 - 03:09 pm:   

Hey Lucius,

A virus could have lingering effects since they can insert genetic information into a hostís DNA. The effects could even manifest between generations.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, July 12, 2004 - 03:16 pm:   

Merci., Rob...
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Rob
Posted on Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 09:39 am:   

de rien
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, July 25, 2004 - 07:18 am:   

Kathy, I ended up using so little science, i really didn;t need any vetting, But thanks anyway,
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Kathy S.
Posted on Sunday, July 25, 2004 - 11:26 am:   

You're welcome. Although I was looking forward to that bit, I have to say that the less science there is in a story, the better. Let us know when the story hits the regular distribution channels.
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, July 25, 2004 - 12:07 pm:   

I will do, Kathy....

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