The thriller novel The Eyes of Darkness by Dean Koontz, which was released way back in 1981, was thrust into the spotlight recently due to Chapter 39 of the bestselling author’s novel containing the term “Wuhan-400” in relation to a biological weapon in the form of a virus created in a Chinese military lab.
However, while the similarities end there, with the actual virus in the book being manmade, with a fatality rate of 100% and an extremely quick incubation period very much unlike the current COVID-19, i.e. coronavirus, Koontz’s novel is an interesting read, which comes as no surprise considering his bestseller status and the number of diehard eagle-eyed fans who had come forth with the discovery.
Fans of author Dean Koontz are insisting that a novel he wrote in 1981 predicted the coronavirus outbreak, according to The Daily Mail.
Says one character in the novel: ‘They call the stuff ‘Wuhan-400′ because it was developed at their RDNA labs outside the city of Wuhan.’
‘A Dean Koontz novel written in 1981 predicted the outbreak of the coronavirus!’ wrote Twitter user Nick Hinton, who first posted a screenshot of the passage from the novel earlier this month.
The Daily Mail reported that other than the city of origin, however, there is little similarity between the fictional Wuhan-400 and the real coronavirus.
In The Eyes Of Darkness, Wuhan-400 is a bioweapon virus that has a fatality rate of 100 percent within 12 hours.
The characters explain that the Chinese intended to use it ‘to wipe out a city or a country’ without the need for ‘expensive decontamination’.
‘Wuhan-400 is a perfect weapon. It afflicts only human beings. No other living creature can carry it. And like syphilis, Wuhan-400 can’t survive outside a living human body for longer than a minute, which means it can’t permanently contaminate objects or entire places the way anthrax and other virulent microorganisms can,’ one character says.
The Daily Mail goes on to make distinctions saying that the coronavirus however has an estimated mortality rate of just 2 to 3 percent. It can survive on surfaces for much longer than a minute, possibly hours or days, though scientists are working now to determine such properties with more precision.
In the Koontz novel, the Wuhan-400 attacks the brain.
As one character describes it: ‘The virus migrates to the brain stem, and there it begins secreting a toxin that literally eats away brain tissue like battery acid dissolving cheesecloth. It destroys the part of the brain that controls all of the body’s automatic functions.’
Coronavirus, on the other hand, primarily affects the respiratory system, in severe cases resulting in pneumonia. The primary symptoms are fever, coughing, and shortness of breath.
The book also describes a virus that has an incubation period of just four hours, whereas coronavirus incubates for several days to two weeks.
Finally, to the disappointment of conspiracy theorists, it turns out that in the first edition of The Eyes Of Darkness, the virus was originally called ‘Gorki-400’, after the Russian city where Koontz originally wrote the bioweapons lab.
After the Soviet Union fell in 1991, Koontz apparently changed later editions to make China the villain.
If we are to make a recommendation, do try to get your hands on the 2008 publication for the timely Easter egg as the original 1981 publication actually used “Gorki-400” in place of the current “Wuhan-400”.
Excerpts from the novel.