Our Study of Life – Saving Lives

Down on Alpha an amphibian species (mega toads really) started getting wiped out by an auto-immune virus. Not a big deal in itself because we’ve had thousands of species develop millions of diseases by now.

What was interesting was that the mega toads (officially we’ve been naming everything with 16 alpha-numeric codes that note their evolutionary tree and closest real world sister species, but that is not really good for conversation – mega toad is what we call these guys) evolved a defense mechanism that basically out-evolved the disease.

The toad’s immune system adapted to host a virus. A case of endosymbiosis, this virus would not attack the toad nor would the toad’s immune system attack it. The virus “lived” by using the auto-immune virus as the building block to replicate itself. A virus of a virus. Now my understanding is that the definition of a virus is that it is dormant until it is inside a cell, so this mega toad hosted virus killing virus isn’t really a virus. It is something new.

Though Janice’s people pour over all the data coming out about Alpha’s life forms and their evolutionary turns, but there is just so much detail, luckily Adit’s got multiple agents in the code to scan for the evolution of bacterias and viruses and flag any evolutionary path that isn’t following the standard lifespan bell curve. That’s how this was caught.

The biology team had no problem convincing me that the simulation should be slowed down to near real time so that this could be studied in more detail. It really seems that this virus killing virus (and yes we do now call it VKV) could be engineered in the real world. We could cure scores of diseases.