Published: 2020-02-27 09:19
Last Updated: 2020-02-27 09:36
The novel coronavirus that is currently spreading worldwide may have been predicted more than 40 years ago in a science-fiction book referring to a "new biological weapon" created by a Chinese scientist to "wipe out a city or country".
Over 81,000 coronavirus cases have now been reported worldwide, as the death toll passes 2,700, with a spike in cases confirmed in South Korea, Italy, Japan and Iran this week, as well as a hotel in Tenerife being put on lockdown.
Corona originated in China, where scientists have confirmed transmission is possible without symptoms.
Earlier this month, US Senator Tom Cotton claimed the virus was either an experiment has gone wrong or a purposely released biological weapon. But, a book from 1981 chillingly predicts similar rhetoric.
Written by Dean Koontz, "The Eyes of Darkness" tells a story about a mother who discovers her son Danny is being kept in a military facility after being infected with a man-made microorganism called "Wuhan-400", the Express.co.uk reported.
"To understand it, you have to go back for 20 months. It was around then that a Chinese scientist named Li Chen defected to the US, carrying a diskette record of China’s most important and dangerous new biological weapon in a decade," Chapter 39 of the book reads.
"They call the stuff ‘Wuhan-400’ because it was developed at their RDNA labs outside the city of Wuhan and it was the 400th viable strain of man-made microorganisms created at that research center."
Some have suggested this research center could be referring to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which is where China’s only level four biosafety laboratory is located.
It has the highest-level classification of labs studying the deadliest viruses and is situated 20 miles from where the current COVID-19 first broke out.
Further excerpts of the book described the virus as the "perfect weapon" as it cannot survive outside a host for more than a minute.
It adds: "Wuhan-400 is the perfect weapon. It afflicts human beings, no other living creature can carry it. Just like syphilis, Wuhan-400 can’t survive outside a living 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."
"When the host expires, the Wuhan-400 within him perishes a short while later, as soon as the temperature of the corpse drops below 30C. They knew that the Chinese could use Wuhan-400 to wipe out a city or a country, and then there wouldn’t be any need to them to conduct tricky and expensive decontamination before they moved in and took over."
Congress leader Manish Tewari tweeted screenshots of the book on Twitter, clocking up more than 200 retweets and 700 likes since.
He tweeted, "Is Coranavirus a biological Weapon developed by the Chinese called Wuhan-400?"
"This book was published in 1981. Do read the excerpt."
However, there are some key differences in the prediction and the recent strain of coronavirus.
The Wuhan-400 was apparently developed as a bioweapon with a 100% fatality rate, but COVID-19 has a fatality rate of 0.2%.
While the Wuhan-400 only has an extremely short four-hour incubation period, the COVID-19 requires an incubation period between 2 to 14 days.
Finally, the Wuhan-400 was said to only affect human beings, but the first cases of coronavirus are believed to have been from animal to human interactions.