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A Modest Proposal

Underdog bogus at no.return.address
Tue Sep 20 15:26:19 EST 1994


tobin at fcs260c.ncifcrf.gov writes:

> For those that missed the post in question, the author wants to crate
> a recombinant virus (RSV?) that will immunize females against sperm
> proteins.  Supposedly, their immune systems would then neutralize sperm
> and prevent fertilization.

No, that's what they are trying to do at CSIRO with rabbits. I proposed that a
different approach should be used for the human species, because of objections
you raise later

> Problems:
> 1.    Although over-population is a real problem, underpopulation could
>       also hurt the global society.

Society would change greatly of course. Probably for the better. Less
resources allocated for reproduction means more resources allocatable to
improving the quality of life.

> 2.    Virus would need to constantly replicate to induce enough sperm-
>       specific IgA in the vaginal canal.

Not necessarily. For example, if the immunological target was proteins
imvolved in implantation, rendering the host sensitive to these proteins might
be enough. Repeated exposure to an endemic vector would repeatedly boost the
stimulated host immune response.

> 3.    The pupetrators would have a great deal of control over where the
>       infection starts, etc. and who would first be immunized against
>       the vector.

The ideal scenario would be to release the agent simultaneously in all the
densely overpopulated urban areas of the world. From there it would quickly
spread to non-urban populations.

> 4.    Immunization against the vector would defeat the purpose.  This would

>       be done in developed countries within a few years of discovering
>       the crime.  Thus this is a formula for reducing the population of
>       the _developing_ world only.  If this is reprehensible, then here
>       is another problem!

There are lots of viruses that have no effective vaccines against them,
including the common cold. I propose to start with one of these. I
specifically want to avoid making it easy for wealthy countries could evade
the agent.

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