For this part of the assignment, you will develop your weapon from the ground up. Discuss nearly all of the epidemiological criteria related to it, and justify and discuss why it is used and how effective it is. This agent could be a hybrid of other biological pathogens or an entirely new one. If the agent is newly created, there must be some basis and epidemiological support of a similar agent by which you can base your justification. In other words, it will be unrealistic to create an airborne virus that inoculates and kills within one hour. There must be a realistic exposure and incubation time and must be supported through current agent biology or biochemistry (for example, influenza exposure and incubation takes 1–4 days).
- Name of Agent: Explain why you chose the name. If it is a biological agent, be sure to provide a taxonomic name
- Etiology: This will talk about the genesis of your agent. Where was it discovered? How was it made? How long has it been around? Why was this agent created? What were the social and economic factors of your rogue nation that made Dr. Madness focus on this element of the agent? What are the environmental precursors to this agent? Discuss the interaction among agent, host, and environment.
- Identification: This will describe the basics of the agent. Is it a bacteria, virus, toxin, parasite, hybrid, or something else? Discuss how your agent presents within the human population. What are the symptoms in humans? What are the (zoonotic) symptoms in animals? How does the disease progress? Are there stages? Discuss the various stages including length of infection, severity, and the like. What are the diagnostic indicators? How would a doctor be able to identify this agent in a clinic or emergency room?
- Laboratory Analysis: How will the agent be identified? Can it be grown in media? What type of laboratory methods can be used to identify the agent (microscopy, chromatography, PCR, and so on)?
- Occurrence: This is the epi: who, what, when, where, how, and why of the disease. Where does it happen? When can it be found? Who is most and least susceptible to the agent (risk factors). More exotic and hard to find agents are harder to prevent and control but are also more difficult to initiate an epidemic or pandemic, whereas more generalized and known agents may be easier to cure, but have a much wider swath of causing pandemics. How do socioeconomic factors foster or inhibit the spread of disease?
- Reservoir: What is the natural reservoir of the agent? Are there other organisms where this agent can reside without causing disease? Increasing the reservoir can enhance transmission but can also allow for easier identification and treatment in response to it.
- Mode of Transmission: Consider inhalation, absorption, digestion, contact, and so forth. If you use multiple modes, justify your selections.
- Incubation Period: Provide the range with an average (median) day of disease onset. Does the period change in different socioeconomic status identifiers (sex, age, race, creed, and so on)? Why or why not?
- Period of communicability: How long is a person with this agent contagious? Increasing this period also increases the opportunity for study and thus treatment and control.
- Susceptibility: Is the agent susceptible to reinfection of the same person? Allowing for this increases morbidity but usually mortality wanes in subsequent infections.
Taking on the role of Dr. Madness, generate your superweapon and describe the weapon using the above mentioned criteria. Remember, the focus in on creating something that becomes difficult to identify, monitor, or treat with prophylaxis. You will write out the proposal as Dr. Madness submitting this to his lead researcher to develop. This proposal should be approximately 6–8 pages in length, but some submissions may be longer.