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Question about "The Stand"

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05-30-2013, 05:48 PM
  #1
Finlandia WOAT
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Question about "The Stand"

I have a question about the book "The Stand", by Stephen King.

----WARNING!! SPOILER BELOW----

---SERIOUSLY, I RUIN (the sideplot of) A VERY GOOD BOOK IN THE NAME OF SCIENCE BELOW---

In the book, a man made superflu code named "Project Blue", or called "tube neck" or "Captain Tripps" is accidentally released from a government research facility. Before the breach is contained, a single infected soldier escapes. This triggers a nationwide (possibly even global) pandemic that wipes out 99.3% of the population.

One of the survivors, Fran Goldsmith, is pregnant when the outbreak occurs. She is immune, but the father is not. With only a few hundred thousand humans left in the U.S., it is becomes a very important issue whether or not immunity is hereditary.

During the first two thirds of the book, the immunity is not hereditary. Survivors vary from all ages (5 years old to 70 year old judge), all socio-economic backgrounds (rich trophy wife to community college professor to crack addict) and all locales. At this stage, it is not hereditary. Parents and children of the survivors all die (sometimes very graphically).

However, at the end of the book, it is revealed that Fran Goldsmith's child did receive partial immunity of the virus from her mother, establishing that the immunity is hereditary.

What gives? Are the anitbodies that the body of an immune person created hereditary? Is this a major plot hole? Is this possible?

Also, what are the chances of an epidemic (man made or otherwise) wiping us out? General discussion about that.

Great book. You should go read it.

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05-31-2013, 11:09 AM
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LadyStanley
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Immunity is not "hereditary" per se (IOW not passed through genes).

But it is "inherited" through fluid exchange via umbilical cord between mom and baby.

(There's also some "essential nutrients" including some things that may help with immune system in "first milk" produced by lactating mothers. I know this is mentioned WRT equine reproduction a lot. I've never seen or looked for studies on human "first milk" benefits.)

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