It’s generally assumed that a zombie infection is transmitted via blood as the result of a bite. But delivering anything into damaged tissue, even medicine, is often quite difficult due to the outward flow of blood. In fact, uncontrolled bleeding can increase a great number of surgical complications and fatalities. Such a virus may have to literally propel itself into our bodies.
While many autonomous particle systems have been developed to transport therapeutics, propulsion has not been used successfully in any living organisms. But researchers at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver began to experiment with Calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in 2015, which is commonly used in antacid tablets; and the results are remarkable!
We report that CaCO3-based microparticles actively transport through blood and can carry functional protein cargo through wounds and into the vasculature. This is the first report of self-fueled particles being used in vivo to transport through blood, and the findings demonstrate that propulsion is a viable mechanism for targeting the delivery of therapeutics into wounds.
Like these therapeutics, a zombie virus may also propel itself through human blood via carbon dioxide; which could explain the rapid infection found in many victims. Regardless of blood flow, or the site of infection, such a contagion could literally force itself upstream.
These particular particles were tested for their ability to halt hemorrhage in the severed tails of mice. Seventy-eight percent of the mice tested stopped bleeding, and showed no signs of distress or tissue necrosis. The thrombin traveled upwards, through flowing blood, without causing any additional damage to the host; which is especially interesting to our research!
Despite being undead, a zombie virus or infection must do as little damage to the body as possible. This would allow it to spread, and successfully infect other living organisms during a relatively short incubation period. Not only would it provide a quick delivery system, but self-propelled particles could allow the new host to easily survive such a brutal attack.
So perhaps it’s possible for a zombie to bite their victim while simultaneously forcing such a virus into the bloodstream. Of course, to learn more about self-propelled particles that can transport cargo through flowing blood, we suggest you read the original research paper as originally published online by Science Advances; because what you don’t know could eat you!