Guide to Virology

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Welcome to virology! A virologist spends much of their time isolated in the virology department fiddling with deadly and annoying plagues. This guide will get you on the right path to properly creating and curing the worst of the worst.

Anatomy of a Virus

Before you jump in to making the next Black Death, you need to understand what's what. When you pop a tray into the disease analyzer you'll get a paper listing quite a few things about that virus!

Antigens

The first thing you might notice on this analysis is the listed antigens of a virus. This, essentially, is what you need for cures. When a patient develops an antibody that matches a disease's antigen, they'll be immune to the virus.

Transmission

This will list one of three methods of transmission: airborne, contact, or blood. Airborne viruses will spread through the air, meaning if a patient is coughing or sneezing it will spread quicker. Contact viruses need some sort of, well, contact. Blood on the floor, mucus, and vomit should all be cleaned up. Blood-transmission viruses will only spread through actual blood contact, meaning an injection of the virus would be necessary to spread it.

Species

Not all viruses are compatible with all species! This will list off what can be infected by a particular virus. This can be changed through splicing. In rare cases you will get a virus that has infected crewmembers but cannot infect your lab monkeys. In these cases, you will likely have to splice different species data to safely make a cure.

Symptoms

This lists what all the virus does, along with the strength of the symptoms and their aggressiveness. A full list of symptoms and their stages can be found below.

Equipment

First off, any good virologist needs to gear up! Your virology lab should have the following:

  • Two Level-3 Bio Hoods
  • Two Level-3 Bio Suits
  • Two sets of internals
  • Latex gloves

Make sure to gear up appropriately and take precautions to not bring the virus out of the lab!

Next, your machinery!

Antibody Scanner

A device similar to a health analyzer, when scanned over a patient it will tell you any present antibodies in their bloodstream.

Pathogenic Isolator

This device can be loaded with blood samples via a syringe. It will tell you if there is a present viral pathogen, and if so it can isolate the pathogen, producing a virus dish for further research. This is the primary means of creating virus dishes.

Pathogenic Incubator

One of the most important machines, you'll be sitting here a lot. Virus trays you produce will start small, and you will need to grow them to get anywhere. Load it with virus food (diluted milk, found in a wall mounted dispenser nearby) as well as a virus dish and turn it on. It will slowly grow the virus for analysis, splicing, or whatever other use you might find for it. It can also inject the virus into other chemicals (i.e. blood) which will allow you to artificially infect a blood sample to infect test subjects.

Additionally, it can irradiate a virus dish to cause mutation. This randomly alters the syndromes, allowing you to collect new data.

Disease Analyser

Virus dishes may be placed into this machine after it has been incubated sufficiently. It will create a reading of the virus' symptoms, species targeted, associated antibodies, and so on. It will also update the disease into the digital database, allowing it to be detected via Medical HUD or health analyzer.

Isolation Centrifuge

Inserting a vial of blood into this machine will allow it to take a present pathogen or antibody, turning it into a pure virus or pure cure for your use. It will automatically detect if either are in the blood sample, so it is useful for determining if a sample is infected. The sample will be reusable if creating more of the virus, but will be expended upon creating antibodies.

Disease Splicer

As it's name implied, this machine is for splicing the disease symptoms and creating new viruses. Insert an analyzed virus sample to take a symptom which can then be saved on a GNA disk (created by the machine), or use an existing disk on the machine to load up a symptom and splice it in.

Refrigerated Virus Storage

Easy storage for your deadly creations.

Protection

What needs to be worn varies from race to race, as some species cannot be affected by a virus, but precautions should always be taken to prevent accidentally carrying the virus out of containment.

Research

While curing patients is the obvious side to virology, there's more you can do! For a variety of reasons you may wish to engineer your own virus through mutations and splicing. Keep in mind that infecting the whole station with a deadly virus is generally frowned upon in most societies, and even in an antagonistic role simply infecting everyone with a very deadly virus is not ideal.

Obtaining a Sample

The first step to making your own virus is to find a virus to start tinkering with. There are two ways of doing this: grabbing the pre-spawned virus dish from the freezer create in your laboratory, or taking a blood sample from an infected patient that you haven't cured yet and running it through the Pathogenic Isolator to produce a virus dish.

In either case, you'll then need to incubate the virus in the Pathogenic Incubator until it is of sufficient size for you to work with, and ideally also run it through the Disease Analyzer to get an idea of what it does. This will also keep the rest of Medical from getting on your case about not giving them the ability to detect viral outbreaks without you, and will help prevent public lynchings if someone sneezes.

Once that's all done, you're ready to start the real work.

Deliberate Infections and Backups

Sometimes you just need to infect somebody. Usually, this is because you're doing some splicing work and want to make sure that you'll have some copies of a virus in reserve for future study. Fortunately, the process of deliberately infecting patients, as well as creating backups of your viruses, is actually very simple.

If you have a virus dish and wish to infect a patient, place the dish into the Pathogenic Incubator along with a beaker full of blood. Ideally, this is the patient's (or test monkey's) blood, though anyone's will do in a pinch - just be aware of the possibility of blood rejection, and be ready to deal with it accordingly. The incubator can inject a sample of the virus into the blood, which you can then inject into the patient to infect them. Alternatively, once a blood sample is infected you may place it in either the pathogenic isolator or isolation centrifuge to make as many samples of that virus you need without destroying the sample. No infections necessary!

Splicing

To understand splicing, you must know that every virus has 4 GNA strands, each of which is tied to one of the syndromes that it can manifest. Each syndrome, and thus each strand, is ranked in order of its appearance when symptoms begin to manifest in a patient, and higher-ranked (and thus slower to appear) syndromes are likely to be more powerful than lower-ranked ones. (1) is the lowest, first symptom to manifest, and (4) is the highest, final symptom to manifest.

The Disease Splicer will allow you to examine and manipulate a virus' GNA strands to create a virus with any syndromes that you want.

The splicer has main three functions which allow you to modify viruses and define which GNA strands they contain. The first of these functions is the splicing function, which copies a GNA strand from an inserted virus tray to the disease splicer buffer. This is done by selecting the desired GNA strand under "Reverse Engineering". Doing so will destroy the virus tray in the process, so be sure that you have more samples of the virus on hand if you want to preserve it.

The disease splicer’s second function is to copy whatever strand it has stored in its buffer to a disk the machine creates. These disks can be re-inserted into the disease splicer later, making their stored GNA strand immediately available for use. Unlike virus trays, disks can be reused without destroying them.

The final function of the disease splicer is to copy over a GNA strand of its loaded virus dish with the corresponding GNA strand that is currently stored in its buffer. This effectively allows you to give a virus any set of symptoms you want, so long as it follows the rules of the ranking. A rank (1) symptom can fill any slot, while a (3) can only fill 3 and up, and a (4) can only be in the fourth slot.

Mutating

Sometimes you just don't have any of the symptoms you want. Fortunately, mutating a virus dish is very simple. Simply place a dish in the pathogenic incubator to get started and click 'add radiation'. This will fill up the radiation bar with each press. When the machine is on, this bar will slowly tick down as the radiation is applied to the sample. For any significant mutation the radiation should be over 500k, meaning at least half the bar. When a mutation occurs -- and multiple mutations can occur in a single sample -- there will be a ping from the machine. Once it's done growing and mutating, throw it into the analyzer and see what you got!


With these functions in mind, the process in order for you to develop your own virus is as follows:

  1. Create lots of virus sample dishes.
  2. If the virus dishes you have already created don't contain the syndromes that you want in your custom virus, irradiate them in the Pathogenic Incubator until they do.
  3. Create backup dishes of your new viruses.
  4. Strip the GNA strands that you want from your virus dishes, saving each one onto a disk.
  5. Load a new virus dish into the Disease Splicer.
  6. Copy over the virus dish's GNA strands with your disks.
  7. Once you have your final product, you can use the Pathogenic Incubator to create a beaker of blood containing the virus. Congratulations! You are now officially a bioweapon manufacturer.

Curing

Curing a virus is relatively simple, but the below will leave you without a sample to work with. If this is a concern, see 'obtaining a sample' above. Alternatively to the below, spacecillin can be used in a pinch to attempt to treat a virus if no virologist is present and someone decided to roll around in mucus. However this is not guaranteed to work, and can in fact simply make the virus more resistant to spacecillin.

Quarantine

If you or a crew member becomes infected by a virus, your first concern should be to isolate them as quickly as possible to prevent the disease from spreading. Ideally, this means getting the patient back to Virology and into a holding cell, but failing that, it's important to get them into an isolated room, shut the door, and keep anyone else from entering. It is also important to clean up any blood, vomit, or mucus left behind by the patient, as it may spread the virus as well.

Antibodies

Now that your patient is safely hidden away where they can't infect people without your permission, you want to cure them. The basic idea behind that is to get them to start synthesizing antibodies.

Antibodies are produced by living organisms that have started to fight off a virus in their bloodstream. An organism that has produced antibodies is effectively immune to any virus that is weak to those antibodies, which are generally denoted by a short string of letters (say, "KM" or similar) to let you know which viruses they are effective against. Even better, once an organism has synthesized antibodies for itself, you can take a blood sample and use that to create more antibodies, which you can then inject into other people to cure the virus in them, or even to prevent them from catching it in the first place. And you can take blood samples from those people to make even more antibodies.

The issue is that, most of the time, a patient's immune system is not powerful enough to create antibodies on its own (space plagues are nasty things), so you have to do that for them. You do that by injecting them with Radium.

Since Radium is radioactive, this is obviously not something that you want to do to your actual patients. It'll cause major toxin damage when an antibody is made and quickly lead to organ failure. You get around this by using monkeys, which you can get from the box of monkey cubes very handily left on the desk in Virology for this very purpose.

So the process of curing diseases is, really, quite simple. Find an infected patient. Make a monkey (ideally, strap this monkey to a bed in an isolation cell to make the rest of this process easier). Take a blood sample from the infected patient, then inject it into the monkey to infect the monkey. Inject the monkey with Radium. Use the antibody scanner on the monkey every few seconds until it says that the monkey has begun producing antibodies, then take a blood sample (or two or three or four) from the monkey. Put the blood sample(s) into a vial, then put the vial into the isolation centrifuge and isolate the antibodies. Voila: a bottle of virus cure. Inject it into as many people as you like, then throw the (likely dead) monkey into the disposals chute to eject its disease-ridden body into space and clean the isolation cell. Or, if you're on the ball and wish to be conservative with your limited monkey cubes, save the monkey, too.

Congratulations! You have now cured a disease.

The important thing to remember is that anyone injected with antibodies becomes a source of those antibodies for the future. You can take a sample of their blood and put it into the isolation centrifuge just like you did with the monkey's to produce more antibodies if you ever run out. For this reason, and because you might have gotten infected yourself in the process of synthesizing a cure, most Virologists will inject themselves with any antibodies they produce.

Syndromes

Below are the possible syndromes of a virus and the stages they can appear at. A stage covers that stage and higher, so a stage 1 syndrome can appear at stage 4. A stage 4 syndrome, however, cannot appear any earlier than stage 4.

Syndromes
Stage Name Effects
1 Sneezing Makes the patient sneeze. Spreads airborne disease.
1 Mucus Buildup Makes the patient's throat fill with mucus.
1 Salivary Gland Stimulation Makes the patient drool. Spreads the disease.
1 Involuntary Twitching Makes the patient twitch.
1 Headache Gives the patient a headache.
2 Involuntary Vocalization Makes the patient scream.
2 Vomiting Makes the patient vomit. Spreads the disease.
2 Excessive Sleepiness Makes the patient drowsy.
2 Narcolepsy Makes the patient pass out at random.
2 Vision Loss Causes partial blindness.
2 Severe Cough Causes coughing. Spreads airborne disease.
2 Digestive Inefficiency Makes the patient always hungry.
2 Reduced Circulation Makes the patient shiver.
2 Hair Loss Causes the patient's hair to fall out.
2 Overactive Adrenal Gland Makes the patient jittery, but also faster.
2 Tinnitus Causes ringing in the patient's ears.
3 Hyperacidity Causes small amounts of toxin damage.
3 Nervous Motor Instability Makes the patient shaky.
3 Pineal Gland Decalcification Gives the patient telepathy.
3 Neurodegeneration Causes brain damage.
3 Hallucination Causes hallucinations.
3 Hearing Loss A less severe hearing damage.
3 Topographical Cretinism Makes the patient incapable of walking straight.
3 Uncontrolled Laughter Causes the patient to laugh uncontrollably.
3 DNA Degradation Causes genetic damage.
3 Phantom Aches Causes groaning.
3 Chemical Synthesis Causes the synthesis of a certain chemical in the patient's bloodstream.
3 Genetic Chameleonism Prevents the patient from experiencing organ rejection.
4 Gibbingtons Gibs the patients slowly.
4 Radian's Syndrome Irradiates the patient from the inside.
4 Deafness Causes complete deafness.
4 Genome Regression Turns the patient into the primitive form of their species.
4 Windpipe Contraction Causes the patient to involuntarily hold their breath.
4 Autoimmune Response Adds toxins to the patient's bloodstream.
4 Catastrophic DNA Degeneration Causes genetic damage and scrambles the patient's genes.
4 Limb Paralysis Temporary loss of use in the patient's individual arms and legs.
4 Organ Shutdown Slowly causes internal organ damage at random.
4 Hyperaccelerated Aging Ages the patient, causing external damage.
4 Brittle Bones Causes bones to break more easily.
4 Organic Ignition Slowly causes the patient to burst into flames.