Why is it impossible to develop a medicine or vaccine against Cordyceps from The Last of Us?

The second chapter of The Last of Us is already here. Again, the series has been maintained very faithful to the video game, showing the journey of Ellie, Joel and Marlene through the remains of Boston and his encounter with some of the first clickers. But in addition to showing what happens to the protagonists, we have also been able to enjoy an introductory segment that shows what happened to the first infected.

During the first minutes of the second chapter of The Last of Us we follow Dr. Ibu Ratna, a professor of Mycology at the University of Indonesia. After being detained by the police, they take her to a center where they show her one of the first victims of Cordyceps. Realizing that what she has been told is true, the specialist tells the officer that the only solution is to bomb the area and completely eradicate the infection. She also claims that there is no possibility of developing a medicine or vaccine against this pandemic.

Why is it impossible to create a cure for The Last of Us Cordyceps?

  • In the first two chapters, both doctors who talk about the infection of Cordyceps in humans they affirm that it would be impossible to cure the infected.❌
  • This is mainly because fungi are more closely related to humans than bacteria and viruses.🤝
  • As he said Dr Ilan Schwartz In an interview with Vulture, his “cellular machinery is the same as ours”.✅
  • Due to this similarity, it is very difficult to develop antifungals that destroy parasite cells without harming human cells. ❓
zombie the last of us
A Clicker with an advanced infection.

In addition to the above, we must bear in mind that if we deal with fungi that infect the skin, such as athlete’s foot, we should not be so careful, since the damage we can cause is less. However, if we were dealing with an infection like the one in The Last of Us, which invades the internal organs, the process to destroy them would be much more complex. This problem could be the one referred to by the Dr Neuman in the first episode when saying that if Cordyceps attacks humanity we would lose.

How likely is it that Cordyceps will infect humans?

Despite the fact that many mycologists have affirmed that fungi have gradually developed more tolerance to the increasing temperature of the Earth, it is very unlikely that the events of The Last of Us will happen. First of all, we have to take into account that Cordyceps is a specialist fungus, that is, it has evolved over millions of years to infect specific insects.

cordyceps ant
An ant infected by Cordyceps.

It would be very rare for the fungus to jump from one ant species to another, let alone jump from one ant to another insect. A) Yes, taking the step from infecting insects to being able to do the same with humans would be an almost impossible task. The vast differences between our organisms and those of the ants they currently infect would make this change a long time coming. Most likely, if at some point they can infect us like that, let’s not be here to see it anymore.

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