The Atlantis Plague

Chapter 21


Highlights

"We thought so too. We made two critical mistakes. The first was that our sample size was too small. The second was that we were studying bodies with direct contact with the Bell, never re-transmission. The Bell itself doesn't emit an infectious agent: there's no virus or bacteria. It emits radiation. Our working theory has been that the Bell radiation causes a mutation in an endogenous retrovirus, essentially reactivating an ancient virus that then transforms the host by manipulating a set of genes and epigenetic tags. We believe this ancient virus is the key to everything."

"Yes. At first, we thought the Delta 32 mutation must have arisen during the Black Death in Europe-about four to sixteen percent of Europeans have at least one copy. But we've traced it back further. We thought perhaps smallpox, but we've found Bronze Age DNA samples that carry it. The mutation's origins are a mystery, but one thing is certain: the bone marrow transplant with CCR5-Delta 32 cured both Brown's leukemia and HIV. After the transplant, he stopped taking his antiretrovirals and has never again tested positive for HIV."

"It took us weeks to figure that out. All our containment protocols-around the world-decades of planning, it all broke down in those first days. The Atlantis Plague couldn't be stopped. Every time it entered a nation, it exploded across the population. What we discovered we never would have imagined. The infected were actually putting out new radiation, not simply carrying radiation from the Bell in their tissues. We believe that the second endogenous retrovirus actually turns on genes that cause the body to change the radiation it emits."

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The Origin Mystery