A fearsome new threat to human health and comfort is breeding in our mucous membranes. Just when we thought it was safe to kiss and shake hands, a new ‘intelligent’ mutation of the common cold has been discovered.
We all thought that colds and flu, even hepatitis and more deadly viruses, were consigned to the waste-bin of history, when the wonder-drug Draco was launched. And, for a while, we were right. Draco was the best thing since penicillin; the biotech concoction gave nasty viruses a genetic message to self-destruct, and they did.
Finally, a cure for the common cold, and more, was a reality. Virocure, the makers of Draco, made billions in the first year, and their share price shot through the roof. Universal relief from colds and flu had a major impact on the recent economic boom, as worker absenteeism dropped to their lowest levels in history. Draco’s inventor was up for the Nobel prize.
But evolution seems to operate even at a sub-microscopic level, and a new bug has ‘learned’ to resist Draco. Draco operates by genetically hamstringing any normal virus, so that our own cells can destroy it. What’s more, a second genetic ‘instruction’ tells the virus to self-destruct, so it won’t spread, even in less healthy cells.
Somehow the new ‘Smart Flu’ has mutated in such a way that it ignores this second instruction, and survives to replicate itself in cells that can’t mount an effective attack. Scientists are baffled that genetic material – basic building blocks of life – can exhibit ‘choice’ rather than simply succumbing to hard coded instructions.
It’s back to the drawing board, as Virocure’s share price plummets. We can only hope that our boffins will prove to be smarter even than Smart Flu, and come up with a new cure!