Science of The Strain
While the strigoi aversion to sunlight, silver and running water are an existential bane imposed upon them through their accursed origins, some of those effects (among others) nevertheless mimic processes observed in nature and are partly amenable to scientific explanation. However, the equivalent reactions found in nature are supernaturally exaggerated when applied to strigoi, in accordance with their otherworldly and accursed natures. The dramatic outcomes exhibited by the vampire would require extraordinary levels of energy under normal or natural circumstances.
- 1 Viral Agency
- 1.1 Experimental:
- 2 The Sun
- 3 Silver
- 3.1 Collodial Silver
- 4 Undead Condition
- 5 The Hive Mind
- 6 Trivia
Viral Agency [ edit | edit source ]
Infiltration of the vampiric virus upon a cell
Both the book and televised series only allude to, but do not describe, the viral agency. That is, the nature of the viral disease or infection behind any transformation of vampire hosts. While typical viruses are relatively simple in that they possess specific functionality, the strigoi virus exhibits unusual complexity for a retrovirus, which is a virus that can integrate its DNA and transform the host rather than merely hijack the cellular machinery to replicate innumerable copies of itself.
This multi-functional ability suggests it belongs to the class of giant viruses , that is, it contains a significantly larger genetic code base than typical viruses. Such capacity for functional complexity affords a broad scope for rewriting disparate regions of a host’s genetic makeup, resulting in systemic transformation of the organism.
The retroviral transformation may be achieved by the infusion of “the white” from the vampire throughout the host body. This fluid would act as a methylating agent, which weakens the rigid adherence to genetic instructions involved in cell function, inducing pluripotence in cells, that is the ability to transform into special types of cells. These resulting stem cells enable the reprogramming of its underlying cellular machinery. Although the process of runaway or unregulated methylation often leads to formation of cancers, the intervention of overriding instructions can redirect the expression of genetic material for the creation of new organs. For instance, the stinger is a new organ created by the strigoi virus. It is a six foot long tentacle-like appendage, that shoots out of the strigoi’s mouth and is for feeding.
In this manner, the strigoi virus would use its own genetic instructions to repurpose functions in the host towards vampiric ends. It is possible that the worms contain additional payloads of raw genetic material to augment the instuctions carried by a strigoi virus. Immortality can be practically derived from the indefinite regeneration of cellular structures through continual presence of “the white” and virus operating in vampires.
Experimental: [ edit | edit source ]
Through the wonders of genetic engineering, it is possible to mate select micro-organism to produce off-spring with desirable characteristics, which is known as artificial selection (as opposed to natural selection, where off-spring are created without the interference of man). In this case, it was bred with the following traits : 1) Minimal deleterious effects to Humans 2) Fatal to Strigoi yet transmissible to the rest of its cohort population. This process was used to produce a bio-weapon which is neurotoxic. That is, it was created to feed on cerebrospinal fluid, which prevents cells from communicating with each other, as well as other strigoi.
[Any “scientific” logic given on the show will have to be interpreted and incorporated.]
The Sun [ edit | edit source ]
In ‘The Strain’ saga, the sun is a symbol of the Face of God and an anathema to vampires, shown as a highly energetic thermal excitation of the vampire molecular structure due to sun exposure (literally burst into flames). Sunlight radiates energy at a wide range of frequencies, including ultraviolet (UV) rays that damage genetic material, or DNA, to inhibit cellular reproduction necessary for the propagation of pathogens.
While strong UV rays from the sun scarcely makes it through the atmosphere, it can be artificially generated by specialized lamps. Ultraviolet, in the higher frequency range such as Ultraviolet C rays (or UV-C for short) is especially favored as a means for combating vampires. Strong UV rays, which disrupts bonds at the molecular level, is naturally effective against microbes and would have comparable effects on vampire pathogens.
As depicted in ‘The Night Eternal’, the wrath of the Face of God was also expressed in the destruction of the ancient cities of Sadum and Amurah (also known as Sodom and Gomorrah):
“God’s face was revealed and His light burned [the cities] in a flash.” (from ‘The Night Eternal’)
Nuclear power, compared to other energy generation methods, comes closest to the output of the Sun. Nuclear fission, the means by which we derive nuclear power, is the process of breaking apart atoms to release large amounts of energy, which is sufficient for annihilating vampiric sites of origin, thereby eradicating their strains. This disintegration at an atomic level would thoroughly scour traces of the vampiric essence or matrix imprinted into the sites.
Silver [ edit | edit source ]
Silver releases free molecules or ions of the element when in contact with water and organic fluids to become biologically active and interact with amino-based products. It is absorbed and metabolized by the humans, binding with metal-attracting proteins that transport zinc, and excreted through the liver and kidneys with little side-effect unless an allergy to silver exists. Silver acts as an absorbent for, that is it captures, sulfur as mentioned in the Season 1 episode “For Services Rendered”:
“Silver is known to interfere with sulfur bonds in bacteria.” – Nora Martinez
While silver poses low toxicity and risk to humans, certain bacteria and possibly fungi may be genetically susceptible to silver interfering with their enzyme production. A similar biological reaction to silver may be supernaturally present in strigoi. Regardless of the debated status on the medical effectiveness of silver, the retention of silver in the body associated with chronic intake of colloidal silver would prove disagreeable to vampires.
Collodial Silver [ edit | edit source ]
Prophylactic against Strigoi Worm Infestation: The following passage speculates on the usage of Colloidal silver in order to acquire immunity to the Strigoi Worm, the symbiote organism that can infect individuals that comes in contact a Strigoi vampire. The worms can tunnel directly into the skin, leaving the victim helpless to stop it. The question here is how effective would a dose of colloidal silver be against such an attack.
Tolerance and Optimum Dose : Colloidal silver (silver suspended in liquid medium) has been marketed and used for many years as antiseptic agent and is apparently well tolerated. Continued and excessive use however leads to a condition known as ‘blue man syndrome’, where the user’s skin will eventually turn grayish blue. Since colloidal silver absorption appears to be cumulative, research is necessary to determine the optimum dose required to repel the worms, hopefully without having to take on the complexion of a smurf.
Undead Condition [ edit | edit source ]
The vampire host body plausibly would not survive the virulent biological change due to rigor and trauma involved in the radical and rapid transformation. Essentially, the host dies to be reanimated as a strigoi. The notion of vampires having to create life by taking life (instead of procreating) or reading the host ‘s memories like a book is consistent with the vampires as automatons or philosophical zombies, which are hypothetical beings containing no consciousness but are otherwise indistinguishable from sentient beings.
Although physiologically complete and functional, the entity that emerges from such a process of zombification would require external direction or motivation. Such forces actuating the body can be construed to arise on two orders: at the level of the worms and at the level of the Ancients.
To puppeteer this undead state, neurochemicals would have to be released by the worms to regulate a variety of pathways in the host, from metabolic to motor, like an eminently more subtle and fine-tuned version of frog limbs being galvanized in a laboratory. Various behavioral overrides can be observed in the natural world with a diverse array of behavior-altering parasites.
The worms appear to be linked to the Ancients as a throng or army of miniature transceivers (which transmit/receive signals) channeling their wills. When either an Ancient or its infesting worms die, control over the hosts ceases and the vampires becomes inert bodies, effectively “dying” again.
The Hive Mind [ edit | edit source ]
As automatons, vampires would be equipped with means for being remotely controlled by the Ancient, either through a specialized organ or through the worms themselves, directed by exchanges of a typically pheromonal or bioelectric nature.
The high levels of fidelity required for information governing the complex, real-time behavior in vampires rule out the slow rate of pheromonal transfer as a means of response (In other words, how do these creatures talk to each other). Accordingly, use of the electromagentic field is to be expected. With the case of electromagnetic communication, developing equipment to fix on the source of transmission is relatively simple, thereby tracking and intercepting a controlling Ancient.
A point of criticism arising with the controlling of vampire hosts through conventional propagation of signals is that, when an Ancient is destroyed, all of its strain instantaneously disintegrates and not merely deactivated. This obliteration is not consistent with stoppage or breaks in electromagnetic transmissions or even pheromonal emissions, unless the vampire hosts possess a self-destruct mechanism in their biological makeup. It ought to be critically noted that the televised series has depicted dead strigoi exposed to daylight without evidence of disintegration, particularly when Justine Feraldo displayed the suspect remains during a live press conference.
Lastly, entering the realm of metaphysics and stretching the limits of information theory (comprehension and transmission thereof) or philosophy of mind (capabilities) consideration of the angelic origins of strigoi suggests an alternative notion, where vampires are imbued with an overarching directive or sentience. Given that angels are pure mind or spirit, these intelligences constitute some information field shared among the Ancients and their strains (imagine something resembling the fictional “intrinsic field” in Alan Moore’s ‘Watchmen’.) Once the information source or matrix is destroyed at a site of origin, the essence of all vampires bound to that strain deconstructs, resulting in their physical disintegration.
While the strigoi aversion to sunlight, silver and running water are an existential bane imposed upon them through their accursed origins, some of those effects (among others) nevertheless mimic processes observed in nature and are partly amenable to scientific explanation. However, the…