Can zombies, or a zombie-causing virus, really exist? We’re not talking about the pseudo-zombies that camp for days for the latest iPhone model, but those zombies that are featured in many films and TV shows such as “Resident Evil”, “The Walking Dead”, and “World War Z”.
So can zombies, or a virus that could launch a million zombies and end the world as we know it, really exist or happen?
It is possible, yes. But before you withdraw from the rest of humanity and start packing food and ammunition and wait until the first signs of zombies come to haunt the world, it is not going to be easy.
First, you have to look for an infectious virus that will make its victims half-dead but still-living shells of their old selves. The infectious agent has to target and shut down some parts of the brain, but it has to retain some motor skills intact, such as walking and devouring human flesh. The agent has to deactivate or affect the brain’s frontal lobe, which controls planning morality and inhibiting impulsive actions (such as taking a bite out of another person). The brain’s cerebellum, the one that controls coordination, will still probably be there but not completely functional.
So among the infectious agents out there, which is considered a leading contender to destroy your brains out? According to experts, it is a proteinaceous infectious particle called a prion. A prion is not quite a virus, and it is not even a living thing. But it is nearly impossible to destroy, and so far, there is no known cure for the diseases it causes.
The first prominent prion epidemic happened in the 1950s In Papua New Guinea, when the members of a tribe got afflicted by it as a result of the tribe’s cannibalistic funeral practices, including eating human brains.
The infamous mad cow disease was also a result of prions.
Now, can prions be used to launch evil plans to conquer the world with zombies? It will really be hard attaching a prion to a virus, as prion diseases are, in today’s modern medical advancements, easily contained. The virus, in order to be truly apocalyptic, will have to affect the frontal lobe and cerebellum, which are no easy feats to do.