When Mark Twain wrote "Truth is stranger than fiction," he wasn't imagining people watching tales of an alien invasion and a pandemic unfold on their screens while hiding from a real pandemic. For a short span as 2021 became 2022, Apple TV+'s Invasion and HBOMAX's Station Eleven, each 10 episodes, briefly relieved reality. The first imagines planetary doom, while the second depicts humanity's recovery two decades after attack by a microscopic menace.
While thinking about both limited series a few days ago, I read a report in Nature that eerily evoked Mark Twain. It presents compelling evidence that SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind COVID-19, could change in one tiny but crucial part, in an instant, and transform itself into a pathogen perhaps worse than what we've already experienced. That truth would indeed be more terrifying than any fiction.
So here's a look at all three scenarios: two fiction, one not.
To continue reading, go to my blog DNA Science, where this post first appeared.