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After surveying customers about their new product, 2019-nCoV™, E.V.I.L. Inc. realized that many of them would pay for an upgrade which allows for the virus to be carried by the wind itself in order to negate hygiene measures that are currently being taken against it.

As such, the evilest brightest engineers at E.V.I.L. now must attempt to fulfill the following specifications:

  • The virus should survive in air ranging in temperature from 0 to 40°C for at least six hours.
  • The virus quickly descend when reaching a densely-populated area (probably due to lack of wind) and be still light enough to pass into buildings through cracks or keyholes.
  • The virus should be resistant to solar radiation, especially the increased UV light observed at great heights, so that it can reach mountainous areas.
  • A coughing person should be able to spread the virus in an area of at least 10x10 meters.

How can these modifications be carried out, providing that the engineers have access to modern state-of-the-art genetic modification technology?

Please feel free to be creative. Nothing prohibits using microorganisms or special particles as carriers. The virus will be sprayed from airplanes or helicopters.

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    $\begingroup$ A cough only travels about 6metres, though sneezes make it to 8metres. Change to sneezes for more spread. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Mar 17 '20 at 14:17
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    $\begingroup$ So many more evil pathogens available.Why upgrade a poorly-performing platform? $\endgroup$ – user535733 Mar 17 '20 at 15:25
  • $\begingroup$ That's a tough task. Viruses are basically big organic molecules with little protection. When exposed to elements, they quickly degrade. What you need is an extremely strong virus shell. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Mar 17 '20 at 16:35
  • $\begingroup$ ...That knock on your door and the Black SUVs outside may have something to do with the nature of the question... j/k kind of $\endgroup$ – Joe Mar 17 '20 at 16:59
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Not simply.

The issue with COVID-19 is that combination of the receptors it targets and the protein coating. The coating cannot be modified too drastically, or it won't be able to use the lung receptors it uses. But the nature of the coating is what limits it. It can't be truly airborne since if it dries out too thoroughly, the protein coating tends to break down. When that happens, the virus turns into just some floating RNA fragments.

To get into the target cells it must arrive more-or-less intact at the target cell, and come in contact with it. The protein coat then penetrates the target cell, and the RNA is injected. The RNA then hijacks the target cell to make copies of the virus.

If the protein coat is changed very much then it won't inject in the target cell. If it is not changed very much then it can't dry out and survive.

So, if you were able to manipulate it to the point it survived "dry" and had a different receptor, there are easier paths. You could take an existing virus that is airborne. COVID-19 needs a surface and a water droplet.

Particles of measles can hang in the air for 2 hours. An infected person walks through a room. Two hours later somebody else walks through, touching nothing only breathing, and he gets infected.

So you start with measles, and give it a different target receptor, or multiple targets. And boom! Covid-19 seems to have an R0 of approximately 4. That is, each infected person can infect 4 other people on average. Measles has an R0 of 12 to 18. That means a much shorter doubling time and much more thorough spread through the population. Before anybody is even aware there is something happening, you have 20 percent infected. And probably 2 days after that 40 percent.

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