Saturday, February 22, 2020 12:30 am
By Nehru Odeh
Although not yet debunked, the similarities are intriguing. Now it has also been authoritatively confirmed that an American bestselling writer, Dean Koontz also predicted the coronavirus in his 1981 thriller novel, The Eyes of Darkness, forty years ago. This is similar to the story TheNEWS magazine carried this week, about how the Jehovah Witness predicted the Coronavirus 15 years ago in a report that was published in Awake, its bestselling magazine.
However, Koontz novel, which he originally published under a pseudonym, Leigh Nichols and with a different setting, is bound to leave readers conversant with the coronavirus with chilling goose pimples. Set in Wuhan, china, The Eyes of Darkness features a biological weapon , named Wuhan, created in a Chinese Military lab, but which later becomes epidemic when civilians accidentally contracts it. The similarities are hauntingly intriguing. Not only is the virus named Wuhan-400, it was created in a lab in Wuhan, which lends it its name.
The novel tells the story of Christina Evans, a grieving mother who sets out in search of whether her son Danny who died on a camping trip or if – as suspicious messages suggest – is still alive. She eventually tracks him down to a military facility where he is being held after being accidentally contaminated with man-made microorganisms created at the research centre in Wuhan.
If that sends cold shivers running down your spine, read a passage from the book.
“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 laboratory outside of the city of Wuhan. And it was the four-hundredth viable strain of man-made microorganisms created at their research center”
However, conspiracy theories that the coronavirus involved in the current outbreak appears to be man-made and likely escaped from the Wuhan virology lab have been going the rounds; though they have been widely debunked. In fact the lab was one of the first to sequence the coronavirus
The coincidences are just too strange, you say. But wait for this: the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which houses China’s only level four biosafety laboratory, the highest-level classification of labs that study the deadliest viruses, is just 32km from the epicentre of the current coronavirus outbreak. The opening of the maximum-security lab was covered in a 2017 story in the journal Nature, which warned of safety risks in a culture where hierarchy trumps an open culture.
In Koontz’s thriller, the virus is considered the “perfect weapon” because it only affects humans and, since it cannot survive outside the human body for longer than a minute, it does not demand expensive decontamination once a population is wiped out, allowing the victors to roll in and claim a conquered territory.
Koontz, a 74 year old best-selling writer, is famous for his strong descriptive power and novels that are written in a literary style. He has written 80 novels and 74 works of short fiction. He is a devout Catholic and lives in California with his wife.