Tales from the ARVInn 1

by: Robert Nalley | Complete Story | Last updated May 30, 2024


Chapter 3
The Virus


Chapter Description: It took decades to trace and begin to understand the unique virus that had emerged.


Tales from the ARVInn: The Virus

The Age Regression Virus is a strange creature.  Accidentally developed as an outgrowth of one man’s quest for longer life, it was released on an unsuspecting and unprepared world equally accidentally.  When Professor Janos Kadalys began his experiments in the 2030’s, he was groping blindly for a way to control the process of aging.  He had no thought of reversing it. 

His final series of experiments had actually borne fruit, but he never learned of it, due to his tragic death, 25 May 2048, in an automobile accident just after the virus had escaped his laboratory.  As reconstructed many years later from testimony by some of his students and from his archived research notes, the virus developed the ability to attach itself to persons who had mutations on certain genes.  On others, it was on a par with the common cold.  The virus is, however, extremely hardy and could survive on its own for days, lying in wait for a new host.  Only quite strenuous efforts at disinfection can kill it in the meantime.  Today, these efforts are commonplace; at the time of the virus’ initial spread, they were rare. 2

The virus works by attaching to receptors on cells with a slight mutation in one of several segments of their DNA. 1  It then reproduces rapidly and soon brings about the reversal of aging that is so devastating to its victim.  Research over the past sixty-plus years has shown a dozen such susceptible mutations.  All but two have been found in the Y-chromosome, meaning that those regressed are almost overwhelmingly male.  The mutations may exist in only a small percentage of the population, but with the world’s billions of people, even a small percentage still produces many victims.  The World Health Organization estimates place the total number of age regression cases at around 32 million in the past 63 years.  Given that we do not yet know the lifespan of these individuals and that thousands of new cases still occur each year, this is a situation that remains with us.  There have been many times that number of cases where there was no regression caused, of course. 

The onset of the viral effect is also somewhat age-dependent.  As a rule of thumb, it tends to affect older individuals, from their mid-20’s and older.  The general onset seems to be at least ten years after the onset of puberty in the individual.  This, of course, can range many years later. 

Also striking is the manner in which the age regression occurs.  From an initial mild onset, the disease progresses rapidly to induce a semi-comatose state, during which the patient is somewhat responsive, but not fully conscious.  Care during this phase quickly came to include sedation, which keeps the patient from becoming agitated and also avoids an occurrence of cognitive impairment.  Over 90 per cent of the patients come through the process with their memories and abilities intact, despite the physical effects.  Without the use of sedation, which usually occurred in less developed areas, there is some danger of memory loss and cognitive impairment to the patient.  This produces an effect which some refer to as a “semi-childlike state,” where the patient may well respond and behave essentially like a small child, even if they are not physically reduced that far.  In developed nations, this is such a rare occurrence that cases are usually handled locally or even within the family, with little outside involvement.

One fortunate circumstance is that as the patient is fully regressed and “bounces,” he or she is effectively immune to the disease and no longer can communicate it.  For those without the mutations, it has been found that immunity is achieved gradually, meaning that the average person might actually have the cold- or flu-like form as many as 4-5 times before full immunity is reached.  This is reflected in the latest findings published in 2010 by WHO, showing cases diminishing over time.  This has dampened any enthusiasm for finding a vaccine to prevent the disease, as it is predicted that too few cases could be prevented for the effort required.

Among those who are physically regressed, there is a considerable variation in the final age presented.  Statistically, the numbers resemble a standard ‘bell-shaped’ curve, with the ends fixed around age one and age eighteen.  The greatest numbers are centered on ages 9-14.  There are outliers beyond these, with nine known cases apparently younger than age 1 and 258 cases known over age 18.   3-7

While the extreme youth encountered by some has brought considerable attention in the press over time, perhaps a greater phenomenon is those who are over 18.  Most of the known cases are in their twenties, but there are also scattered individuals who, rather than losing age, were simply frozen where they were.  The known 132 individuals range in age from 21 to 52, including one of the original class.  All were found to have the same gene mutation.  This simply adds to the scientific wonderment this unique virus has created.

The virus which the professor brought into the classroom on that fateful day was then carried away from the University by the students departing at the end of the term, just a few days later.  From the original 28 members of his graduate seminar, it is not known how many others around the campus were infected.  It is of note that in the Czech Republic, there were no more cases per capita during the initial outbreak than in many other places, which suggests that the students may actually have been studying for finals and packing for home, rather than going out for parties in the town.  At any rate, only seven of the original class are known to have been regressed.  Some were lost during the following unrest, but four are still living.

From the campus, the virus then was spread mildly in the community.  No more than twenty cases were estimated to have developed in the initial outbreak in that region.  It was the travel plans of the multinational student body that actually spread the virus so widely.  Being students, they most often traveled by the cheapest means possible.  Many long bus and train rides and many multi-stop airplane flights followed the end of classes that year.  This allowed the virus to transfer to other passengers and crew and to remain on the vehicles to be picked up by others who came after them.  The best current estimates suggest that cases in at least eighteen different countries came from those students.  These were spread across Europe, Asia, and the Americas.  Africa received its first cases indirectly, several months later.

The initial panic which developed in that first year set off worldwide events which led to many deaths which were the result of fighting, famine and disease.  It has never been shown that the virus itself has caused a person’s death due to loss of age.  Deaths have happened when medical aid was not available for some condition or the other, but these are rare.  The human predilection for violent responses to unfamiliar situations led to a tremendous loss of life and to untold economic harm, which took decades to overcome.

 Students travelled home by many different means.8

It can be stated with some certainty that in the dozen years following the escape of the AR Virus that there were over seven million excess deaths around the world, deaths in excess of what would have happened in the normal course of affairs.  These were not caused directly by the virus, but by warfare, famine and general societal breakdown.  “The Age Regression Virus of 2048: Forensic and Scientific Reporting,” World Health Organization (WHO),  Geneva, 2101.

Since the identification of the virus, which took place only some eight years after the initial cases, there has been no case of the virus itself mutating, as does the influenza virus.  Over time, the genetic markers which lead to its activation within a person have been identified one by one, with the twelfth one being found only about six years ago.  It is possible there may be others, but they are probably so rare as to be disregarded.  Today, with the widespread use of childhood genetic testing, we know which individuals are at risk of contracting the virus.  Since it seems that full regression occurs in those who are at least ten years past the onset of puberty, they are well-warned and most take the precaution of developing life and job skills which will be useable should they be infected.  The other notable point is that the proportion of males to females infected is about six to one.  The identified mutations are that much more prevalent in males due to most of them being found on the Y-chromosome.

Because of the hardiness of the virus, it takes extreme measures to keep it out of an area.  Many of those who are at risk ended up in various areas where ‘virus-free’ Colonies were established.  Some of these have been somewhat effective in slowing transmission, but some have also been spectacular failures, such as the Novaya Zemlya Colony which was over seventy percent infected from one case in just six weeks and disbanded immediately.Novaya Zemlya Colony9

Support for ARV victims has grown tremendously as the understanding of the condition has developed.  Today, many private and public efforts allow victims to remain as useful members of society, rather than being hidden or isolated.  There are some lingering issues, but these remain mostly on the personal level, rather than societal or governmental.  The United States Congress was actually one of the first to pass legislation formalizing the rights and privileges of ARV-adults, in 2062.  This was in response to a number of local initiatives which various states and localities had already passed.  The United Nations Human Rights Commission proposed, and the General Assembly passed, the Rights of the Age Regressed, in 2070.  By this time, the political climate was such that all but a handful of nations recognized it legally within six months, with many of them having already passed laws to that effect.  Today, every nation officially allows adult status for ARV victims, even though it is problematic in a few locations.

Prepared 17 June 2110

Figures

1 Image © Provanish | Stock Free Images

2 Image © Terex | Stock Free Images

3 Image by Phillip Neho from Pixabay

4 Image by Phillip Neho from Pixabay

5 Image by Abdulmomn Kadhim from Pixabay

6 Image: Stock photo by Vecteezy

7 Image by Phillip Neho from Pixabay

8 Image © creativecommonsstockphotos | Stock Free Images

9 Image by Decokon from Pixabay

 


 

End Chapter 3

Tales from the ARVInn 1

by: Robert Nalley | Complete Story | Last updated May 30, 2024

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