Is a ‘World War Z’ Zombie Virus Possible?

Pop culture can’t get enough of the undead. The Walking Dead, I Am Legend, World War Z – we’re obsessed with zombies just as much as zombies are obsessed with brains. There are guides all over the internet for how to survive the zombie apocalypse and the The US Center for Disease and Control even has a recommended list of items for a zombie outbreak.

Is a virus that could cause global mutation of mankind into vicious beasts really possible though? Of course not, right? National Geographic writer Christine Dell’Amore went to Joan Slonczewski a microbiologist at Kenyon College in Ohio for some answers. Asked whether a zombie plague is possible Slonczewski says “sort of.”

Don’t panic and board up the windows yet, while the dead my not crawl out of their graves, neurotropic viruses that distort brain functions do exist. Rabies affects more than 55,00 people in Africa and Asia each year and causes the infected to become violent and bite.


New viruses are popping up all the time and if a “zombie-like” outbreak did occur it might come from two viruses joining together to form a hybrid. Kartik Chandran, a microbiologist and immunologist at the Albert Einstein College in New York explains that viruses work by copying their genetic material within human cells. “Viruses also succeed when they encounter populations that have no immunity against them. A good example is measles in the New World in the 1600s,” said Chandran.

Still, the possibility of a zombie outbreak is very unlikely, as most viruses on our planet only infect single-cell microbes, not humans. “We’re kind of a sideshow. This whole planet’s really about microbes,” said Chandran.

You can unload the shotgun now.

Related Articles

- Advertisement -

Latest Articles

- Advertisement -