Did a 1981 Dean Koontz thriller predict the coronavirus outbreak? Readers share extracts from novel which chillingly refers to deadly viral infection named after Wuhan
- Koontz novel The Eyes Of Darkness describes a killer virus named ‘Wuhan-400’
- The fictional virus was developed as a bioweapon in Wuhan research lab
- Coronavirus first emerged from the same Chinese city in December 2019
- However there are several big differences between the novel and real life
Dean Koontz wrote The Eyes Of Darkness in 1981, describing the ‘Wuhan-400’ virus
Fans of author Dean Koontz are insisting that a novel he wrote in 1981 predicted the coronavirus outbreak.
Koontz’s thriller The Eyes Of Darkness describes a killer virus named ‘Wuhan-400’ after the Chinese city it originated in — the same city where COVID-19 was first reported.
Says one character in the novel: ‘They call the stuff ‘Wuhan-400′ because it was developed at their RDNA labs outside the city of Wuhan.’
‘A Dean Koontz novel written in 1981 predicted the outbreak of the coronavirus!’ wrote Twitter user Nick Hinton, who first posted a screenshot of the passage from the novel earlier this month.
Koontz did not immediately respond to an inquiry from DailyMail.com about the purported prediction in his novel.
Twitter user Nick Hinton kicked off a frenzy on Twitter by posting the above passage
Although coronavirus was first identified in Wuhan, there is not yet scientific consensus about how and where it jumped to humans.
Says one character in the novel: ‘They call the stuff ‘Wuhan-400′ because it was developed at their RDNA labs outside the city of Wuhan’
Initial theories suggested that it jumped to humans from exotic animals in a Wuhan ‘wet market.’ Others have suggested, so far without proof, that the pathogen may have escaped from the Wuhan Virology Lab, China’s only biosafety-level four facility.
Other than the city of origin, however, there is little similarity between the fictional Wuhan-400 and the real coronavirus.
In The Eyes Of Darkness, Wuhan-400 is a bioweapon virus that has a fatality rate of 100 percent within 12 hours.
The characters explain that the Chinese intended to use it ‘to wipe out a city or a country’ without the need for ‘expensive decontamination’.
‘Wuhan-400 is a perfect weapon. It afflicts only human beings. No other living creature can carry it. And like syphilis, Wuhan-400 can’t survive outside a living human body for longer than a minute, which means it can’t permanently contaminate objects or entire places the way anthrax and other virulent microorganisms can,’ one character says.
Differences between Wuhan-400 and coronavirus
Despite the surface similarity, there are big differences between Koontz’s fictional virus and the real coronavirus:
Origin: Wuhan, China
Incubation period: Four hours
Symptoms: ‘Literally eats away brain tissue like battery acid dissolving cheesecloth’
Mortality rate: 100%
Origin: Wuhan, China
Incubation period: Several days to two weeks
Symptoms: Fever, Cough, Shortness of breath
Mortality rate: Estimated 2-3%
Coronavirus however has an estimated mortality rate of just 2 to 3 percent. It can survive on surfaces for much longer than a minute, possibly hours or days, though scientists are working now to determine such properties with more precision.
In the Koontz novel, the Wuhan-400 attacks the brain.
As one character describes it: ‘The virus migrates to the brain stem, and there it begins secreting a toxin that literally eats away brain tissue like battery acid dissolving cheesecloth. It destroys the part of the brain that controls all of the body’s automatic functions.’
Coronavirus, on the other hand, primarily affects the respiratory system, in severe cases resulting in pneumonia. The primary symptoms are fever, coughing, and shortness of breath.
The book also describes a virus that has an incubation period of just four hours, whereas coronavirus incubates for several days to two weeks.
Finally, to the disappointment of conspiracy theorists, it turns out that in the first edition of The Eyes Of Darkness, the virus was originally called ‘Gorki-400’, after the Russian city where Koontz originally wrote the bioweapons lab.
After the Soviet Union fell in 1991, Koontz apparently changed later editions to make China the villain.