This is some of the research that contributed to the recently released Darwin’s Paradox: An international science mystery. http://amzn.to/2k8qJgi. Anti-virals are way more complicated that I first imagined.
The Battle for Cyto Citadel – A Primer in Antiviral Warfare
This is the story of viral vampires and their clone armies attacking the friendly territory defended by cyto citadels. Viruses, not quite alive, walking dead, attack cells, armored castles (Cyto Cidadel), defended by vaccines and drugs. Some are defeated.
Skirmish 1 – VACCINATION
All around the Cyto Citadel are roaming squads of deadly B-cell skirmishers and T-cell marauders searching for viral vampires. These forces are very effective and win most of their battles leaving vanquished vampires in their wake.
Unfortunately, they only attack vampires they have seen before. Any new viral vampires get by them unnoticed as if they were wearing invisibility cloaks.
Vaccines introduce B-cells and T-cells to recognized vampires of the viral armies, such as measles, mumps, rubella, polio, and hepatitis. Captain Cytoplasm uses as many vaccines as possible, but still many viral vampires get pass this defense, especially influenza viruses which constantly mutate into unrecognizable forms.
Skirmish 2 – ATTACHMENT
When the invisibility-cloaked vampires approach the Cyto Citadel, their first objective is to attach to the citadel walls to stage their break in. Medical sentries can stop some viral attacks before they attach to the wall.
Docosanol dragoons prevent herpes simplex viral vampires from attaching to the citadel walls. Unfortunately, if these loyal dragoons do not recognize the viral vampires, the invaders slip by undeterred.
Skirmish 3 – ENDOCYTOSIS
With the vampires at the wall, they need to worm their way through. The Cyto Citadel has strong walls to thwart this intrusion.
For example, even the dreaded HIV horde, causers of the AIDS scourge, can not penetrate the citadel without the help of CCR5 crackers or CXCR4 crashers. Blockers can be brought against CCR5 and CXCR4 to isolate the HIV horde outside the Citadel where they can do no damage.
Skirmish 4 – UNCOATING
Once inside, all is not lost. First of all the viral vampires come heavily armored for the battle to breach the citadel walls. Before they can do their real damage, they need to remove this armor. This is called uncoating.
Two antiviral armies, the amantadine arsenal, and the rimantadine rangers, prevent influenza vampires from releasing acid to dissolve their armor. Without this acid, they are stuck inside their own armor and helpless to do any damage.
Skirmish 5 – MUTAGENESIS
Once uncoated, the viral vampires break into the citadel storeroom to steal parts to build a vampire clone army. This is the last thing the citadel defenders want: a viral vampire clone army!
The citadel storerooms are infiltrated by ribavirin robots that fool the vampires to accepting mutating parts. When the vampires build clones from mutating parts, errors pile up and the clones die from error catastrophe. Too many errors equal dead clones.
Skirmish 6 – SYNTHESIS
Another attack on the synthesis of the viral clone army is to supply the vampires with the wrong parts. Reverse Transcriptase quartermasters delivering the wrong parts from inventory can foil the cloning efforts of some of the HIV horde, and the Hepatitis B horde also. The parts look right, but when used, the result is defective.
Skirmish 7 – REPLICATION
If a few clones get this far, all is not lost. Building a clone is a slow process. Unfortunately, once they are operational, they can replicate themselves. From a few clones, they can grow a full clone army.
Patrol of protease (pronounced PRO-TEA-AZE) inhibitors can stop the replication. Unfortunately, like all the fighters in the Cyto Citadel, patrols are very specific about who they will attack. Smart citadel defenders recruit as many different protease inhibitor patrols as possible.
If the HIV horde invades, the saquinavir, ritonavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, and amprenavir patrols are recommended. For the hepatitis C horde, different patrols are needed: boceprevir and telaprevir.
The last defense: Skirmish 8 – EXOCYTOSIS
If the clone army is successfully put together, the Cyto Citadel is lost, but a lost battle is not a lost war. As a last ditch effort, oseltamivir (aka Tamaflu) can prevent the clone army from breaching the walls from the inside. With the clone army trapped in this citadel, other Citadels can be safe.
Good News and Bad News
The good news is that there are many ways the Cyto Citadel defenders can stop the viral vampires and their clone armies.
The bad news is that all the defenders are all very specific, and each different vampire attack must be met with the correct response. Unfortunately, some vampires mutate rapidly, so there is an arms race to keep finding new defenders. Even worse, for some viral attacks, there are no known defenders.
Map credit: Dyson Logos rpgcharacters.wordpress.com.