Vampirism as a Virus

Written by: Sarasvati
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The hypothesis of vampirism having a viral cause is an old one. We see it in movies, TV shows, books and occasionally, though credited erroneously, as fact. Is there a possible truth to this, however? What would be the pros and cons of this hypothesis? Well, here you go:

The Basics of the Virus

Viral basics is a three credit course all on it's own. Because of this, I am not going to really go into detail here. I would probably bore you to death. However, it is good information, so I will refer to here: Hidden Killers: Virus Basics.

The main things you need to know for this article are:

  • Viruses can cause mutation
  • They cannot reproduce without a host
  • They cause cell or host death.

The Pros of Viral Causes of Vampirism

Most of the pros make the assumption that vampirism is transmittable. That is that "turning" is possible. So, for the purpose of this article, we will make this assumption. So, with this in mind, what parts of what we "know" about vampirism fit with a viral cause?

  • Transmission: If we make the above assumption. Somehow the disease must be transmitted and transmissible diseases only come in two forms: Virus or Bacteria. Since we have yet to hear of a vampire cured by penicillin, we can probably safely eliminate bacteria. This leaves Virii as the cause of transmission.
  • Detection: Because of the small size of the virus it is only seen by electron microscope. Some virii do make what are called "cellular inclusions" these are crystal-like structures that can be seen in cells by microscope, but not all virii do this. This makes viral detection very difficult. Detection of most viruses is made by looking for antibodies, the body's response to invasion of foreign particles. However, you have to know what antibody you are looking for. So, if you don't know what to look for, you aren't going to find it. This would explain why, if vampirism is viral, the specific virus has not been detected yet.
  • Symptoms: One could argue that the fatigue, discomfort, and other problems exhibited by an underfed vampire were a result of some other entity, such as a virus, using up the resources usually made by the host. It would be a rare "smart" virus that did not kill the host, but made it better or stronger.

The Cons of Viral Causes of Vampirism

If we continue with the assumption of vampirism as transmissible, the cons apply as well.

  • Transmission: If it is a viral cause, it is a very poorly transmissible virus. Otherwise, there would be vampires running around all over and that patently isn't so. A poorly transmissible virus is poor virus overall and does not tend to survive well in the population. Not to mention the usual time of around puberty that vampirism starts to manifest. Virii do not wait, and in fact tend to affect the very young and the very old more than the healthy adolescent or young adult.
  • Symptoms: As stated above, all viruses cause cell or host death. So, it would be a strange virus indeed that actually made the host BETTER then they were before: increased strength, sight, hearing, etc that are touted by many vampires, for example.
  • Detection: Though they are too small to detect with specialized equipment, the body does mount some defense (the antibodies mentioned above) and while specific antibodies may not be testable there would be a general increase in "globulins" that would signal some type of viral or other infection. Blood tests in vampires have not shown this to be so.

In Conclusion

Really, on this and other pages presenting the hypothesis I am going to leave the conclusions to you. My intent here is to present both sides. We, as a group, do not know the answer yet. We each may have our own personal "pet" hypothesis and ideas, and as you will see as you read on some will have more validity then others, but as of yet we cannot say what is the true answer.