Treating a Pandemic Respiratory Disease with a Mutagen is a Doomsday Scenario
AbstractMerck's Molnupiravir is a global catastrophic risk. Its broad use as a treatment for COVID-19 will create dangerous variants of SARS-COV-2. It is already in use in some countries. Molnupiravir ("MOLN"), a presumed anti-COVID19 drug, acts by significantly increasing the RNA error rate in the coronavirus replication. That exponentially increases the probability of many mutations in a single copy. Copies containing a large set of new mutations are disproportionately likely to create dangerous mutations. Patients taking MOLN are expected to carry and shed the virus in almost equal volumes as untreated patients. Estimates show that MOLN would increase the frequency of sets of 8 mutations by 3,000 times, and sets of 12 mutations by 240,000 times, per virus generation, per person. This does not include recombinations and many other effects which are likely to compound these results. Multiple rounds of replication and natural selection per person further increase the threat. The impact cannot be detected immediately due to a possible lag between the appearance of a new variant and the necessary changes in external conditions, which lead to its spread. At least some of the many artificial variants, induced by the MOLN treatment, are likely to combine immune escape, higher contagiousness, and higher virulence, just to mention a few. This would be a gain-of-function experiment, performed on the entire human race.