Greg Whitney | Science Fiction vs. Fact

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

Science Fiction: Imagine a “Twilight Zone” episode where the human population is threatened by a deadly alien virus and the cure that defeats the virus is supplied by a docile herd of brown cows.

Science Fact: Today’s deadly virus might be stopped by providing victims with plasma antibodies from humans who have contracted the virus and survived.

Each human donor can provide antibodies for three ill patients, provided you can vet survivors and convince them to donate plasma.

Better solution in progress: A herd of cloned, genetically engineered cows in South Dakota have been infected with select bits of the virus and are producing prodigious quantities of human polyclonal antibodies. Each cow can produce plasma for about 200 people and do it continuously, without complaining or retaining a lawyer.

The vast quantities of cow plasma are overwhelming the small biotech firm that owns the herd, so they have joined a consortium that will process and distribute the resulting polyclonal antibodies. The Department of Defense and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority are providing funding with the intent of developing a front-line rapid response team (go cows!) to defeat bioweapons and accidentally(?) released viruses.

Cow-manufactured antibody timeline: first batch by early summer. And much more to follow.

This isn’t the cows’ first rodeo. The process has been tried against other nasty viruses and is in second-stage clinical trials for the nasty Middle East bug.

If this bovine approach works and is available to aid medical staff and first responders and old geezers like me, I am going to demand that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez quit bad-mouthing cow farts and pucker up to a Jersey bull’s nose, if I can find a consenting bull.

For better description and information about the South Dakota biotech laboratory, see

Greg Whitney


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