Thank you everyone.
This was certainly not a question with a simple solution, and was far more complicated than I could've imagined. All of you provided so many amazing, insightful responses, selecting an single answer has been extremely difficult. You illuminated and educated in so many areas, and you have my utmost gratitude and respect. Worldbuilding is an incredible community, and I'm genuinely honored to be a part of it.
Any suggestions for 4-5 items that could be collected for a fictional (yet convincing) immunization/inhibiting agent against an air-born, zombie virus.
5 years after a massive, zombie outbreak initially brought into the United States (before being identified within the country of origin).
Efforts to quarantine and irradiate the infected has proven ineffective since every individual is now a carrier, causing them "turn" when near death or ill.
The zombie infection changes dramatically when it mutates from the dormant state into the active version; assuming a nearly completely different virus altogether. Years were spent trying to cure the dormant version before discovering that it might be possible to immunize against the mutated version.
The CDC has finally identified a successful method of developing this immunization/inhibiting agent. Unfortunately, only a small group of them remain, desperately defending their position, using generator backups, and rapidly running low on resources. The military, who has been protecting them, is being reassigned but the researchers (being so close to their goal) refuse to leave.
The military advises that the area will be overrun regardless, but promise to supply a rescue chopper upon request. In a final act of hope, several soldiers volunteer to remain.
Now, it's a race to complete (and test) the vaccine using the limited equipment they have, and anything they can bring back from the surrounding area (pharmacies, hospitals, factories, etc.).
- The symptoms are that of the standard, Walking Dead style zombie: Aggressive, rabid-like, and mindless.
- Victims, once turned, may be partially alive, or fully dead. In this case it doesn't really matter, so either one can be assumed.
- The viral/microbial infection is spread though direct contact as well as being air-born.
- Direct contact refers to any transfer of bodily fluids (blood, mucus, sweat, etc.), causing the infected to decline rapidly (12-24 hours).
- The air-born strain remains dormant until the body's immune system is compromised (extreme illness or near death).
- When turning, victims experience high fever, increased heart-rate, and eventual blindness due to the fever (sight is restored once they've turned completely).
Question: What components (medicines & equipment) could I use to plausibly immunize against zombism as described above?
- Components need to withstand reasonable scrutiny by anyone with a medical background.
- Medicinal components need to have a generic name (to avoid copyright infringement) and names that are readable are definitely preferred (Melphalan vs. Talimogene Laherparepvec).
- Components are not limited to medicinal ingredients, but can also consist of anything else, such as equipment needed to prepare the immunization, tissue sample type, fungus, or anything that could reasonably contribute towards the immunization/inhibiting agent.
- All items must be gathered within a relatively close distance to the CDC. Roughly within this area: https://goo.gl/maps/3Lk5KPZapiE2 (so locating immune survivors isn't possible).
- Anything related to immunization for rabies or any of the five, related viruses from Africa (since, in this universe, that's where it originates from): obodhiang and kotonkan (African ephemeroviruses), Mokola, Lagos bat virus, and the Duvenhage virus.
- Anything related to immunization for afflictions with similar symptoms, like encephalitis, cerebral malaria, tetanus, etc.
- These are just examples -- any creative and plausible solutions are welcome.