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A chimera virus is defined by the Center for Veterinary Biologics (part of the U.S.marker Department of Agriculture'smarker Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) as a "new hybrid microorganism created by joining nucleic acid fragments from two or more different microorganisms in which each of at least two of the fragments contain essential genes necessary for replication."[305535] The term chimera already referred to an individual organism whose body contained cell populations from different zygotes or an organism that developed from portions of different embryos. In mythology, a chimera is a creature such as a hippogriff or a gryphon formed from parts of different animals, thus the name for these viruses.

Fictional chimera

  • In Mission: Impossible II, the pharmaceutical corporation BioCyte engineers a chimera virus in order to create a need for the vaccine Bellerophon, which they had also previously created. The vaccine is only effective within twenty hours of exposure.
  • In the video game Resistance: Fall of Man and its sequel Resistance 2 the chimera virus turns humans into a hostile alien-like species known as the Chimera.
  • In Rainbow Six, Tom Clancy posits a plot by a biotech billionaire to wipe out humanity, using a strain of the Ebola virus altered by addition of colon cancer genes. The virus is called Shiva.
  • In Executive Orders, also by Clancy, a previous biological warfare attack had failed because
    • the Ebola virus quickly spreads through a small population, killing everyone, then "burns out" when it runs out of hosts. in reality Ebola has caused a number of small outbreaks but no large epidemic.
    • The U.S. government had launched an effective public health response—led by the CDC and epidemiologists from Johns Hopkins—which contained each outbreak and quarantined all patients. Despite ingenious use of aerosols to spread the virus at a number of large trade shows, only five thousand were killed.
  • In the Canadian television show ReGenesis the first few episodes deal with an artificially created chimera virus that is a hybrid of ebola and camel pox.
  • The Cobra Event, a novel by Richard Preston, features a chimeric virus that is a combination of a moth brain virus, the common cold, and smallpox.

See also


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