MYSTERY WIRE — The caronavirus (Covid-19) is officially a global pandemic. A pandemic many never saw coming, unless you read the 1981 fiction novel “The Eyes of Darkness” by Dean Koontz.
It is in this book where Koontz writes about a strangely named virus, a biological weapon, he called the “Wuhan-400” virus. This is a fictional thriller and Koontz made up the name. But a recent tweet that has been seen by millions questions whether he knew the future.
In the page seen in the tweet screenshot, the character named Dombey narrates a story about a Chinese scientist who brought the Wuhan-400 biological weapon to the United States:“To understand that,” Dombey said, “you have to go back twenty months. It was around then that a Chinese scientist named Li Chen defected to the United States, carrying a diskette record of China’s most important and dangerous new biological weapon in a decade. They call the stuff ‘Wuhan-400’ because it was developed at their RDNA labs outside the city of Wuhan, and it was the four-hundredth viable strain of man-made microorganisms created at that research center.”
Here’s the thing, it’s only called this in a later edition of the book. According to the South China Morning Post, the early editions had a man-made virus called Gorki-400. Named for the Russian city of Gorki. The change to Wuhan came happened when the novel was released in hardback in 1989 – at the end of the Cold War.
CNN wrote about the strange coincidence recently pointing out that in a later paragraph, the character Dombey goes on to say that no one infected with virus survives: “And Wuhan-400 has other, equally important advantages over most biological agents. For one thing, you can become an infectious carrier only four hours after coming into contact with the virus. That’s an incredibly short gestation period. Once infected, no one lives more than twenty-four hours. Most die in twelve. Wuhan-400’s kill rate is one hundred percent.”
So for now it’s safe to say, Koontz is an excellent author, but he’s not a prognosticator, seer, or soothsayer.