253 Bacteria Under the Microscope

    Not only San Hai City, this new strain of legionella pneumonia also ravaged many countries across the globe. This was a global epidemic. Based on this rate of transmission, if effective measures were not taken soon, the whole world would be brought to its knees within a month. Even though they had never seen eye to eye, the government of every superpower country had to put away their differences for now. Researchers from all over the globe gathered together to race against time.

    The latest secret update was that the strain was manmade and the epidemic was created on purpose: The information about the Afterlife Cult, Lai Sheng Company, the old man as well as the possible connection to R'yleh Cult was shared...

    Phecda was at the frontline. The government sent out an armada of ships to station at the sea near San Hai City. Each ship came with complete research equipment and teams. They would ferry the samples and patients from San Hai City through helicopters and the experiments would be conducted on the ships. Should the disease infect the people on the ship, no one would be able to leave. From the moment they departed, these researchers knew that they were only staring down two results, success or death. The first batch of samples and patients were transported out from Jiang Xin Municipal. Even though Jiang Xin Hospital was situated right in the epidemic's hot spot, the staff there did not give up their fight. It was chaos inside the small lab, the newly-arrived PCR devices were strewn on the tables as coughs echoed around them.

    He Feng took himself out of quarantine, so did his assistant Lee Wen and the rest of his team. However, they were still wearing the Grade 3 protective gear, not because it was effective, but to lower the intensity of germs in the air. They had all been infected but their work could not stop. Once they did, the resistance that they had put up might collapse in a snap. Using Huang Guoxin's saliva as a sample, the bacterial culture was placed inside a small incubator at the corner. When the incubator was opened earlier, He Feng and his team as well as Uncle Dan were stunned. It was not because of the stench since they could not smell it. It was because inside the glass petri dish, there were already clusters of bacterial colonies. They were round, greyish white in color, damp yet glistening and had a slight protrusion. Those were the bacterial identifiers of legionella pneumophilia.

    "How long has this been cultivating?" Uncle Dan asked.

    "Around 34 hours." He Feng answered between coughs. "We have not swapped out the cultivation medium at all." Staring at the cultivation medium that was almost drained inside the petri dish, Uncle Dan was silent. This germination rate was too fast.

    There are four stages to microbial growth, lag phase, exponential phase, stationary phase, and decline phase. Stationary phase is also the longest phase. To quote a medical study: at some point the bacterial population runs out of an essential nutrient/chemical or its growth is inhibited by its own waste products or lack of physical space, causing the cells to enter into the stationary phase. There is a process needed to reach this stage but based on what they were seeing, the bacteria in the incubator had already arrived at the decline phase-there was insufficient essential chemical inside the cultivation medium and there were more dead bacteria than living ones. This cultivation speed was several times faster than normal parasitic bacteria and normal legionella pneumophilia. It was practically growing at the speed observable by naked eye.

    Furthermore, the decline phase was inordinately long. Bacterial culture in decline phase should not look like this, unless it was refilled with essential nutrients. Then what did these bacteria survive on? He Feng shivered even harder. Cultivation that would normally need more than 10 days was completed within hours. That was why the patients' condition deteriorated so fast. Every single second, the bacteria was consuming their healthy lung cells, producing more strains of legionella pneumophilia to corrupt the lungs further and collapse the rest of the human physique.

    With Huang Guoxin's conditions as an example, He Feng predicted he would lose consciousness in another 10 hours. For the sake of his daughter, he prayed that he could struggle longer. Perhaps this last push could bring them the needed breakthrough. Everyone in the lab shared the same feeling. They swiftly spliced up the bacteria, put one part into another incubator and the other was handed over to a Special Mobile Force to be carried over to the ships. They had better drugs and equipment, and could do more antibiotic experiments on the bacteria to find its weakness.

    After doing all that, the team carried the petri dish over to the microscope to study it.

    "Let me see..." Uncle Dan grumbled, "What this thing looks like." Uncle Dan leaned towards the scope. That was not easily accomplished considering the gear he was wearing. When he finally got a look, Uncle Dan's heart wrenched. His vision seemed to waver for a minute. Under a microscope, a normal legionella pneumophilia has an oval shape, looking like a gel sac. But under greater amplification, one could see that its surface was actually pitted and the cellular body was filled with globules that looked like brains or intestines. From appearance, it mimicked a worm.

    But this new strain, even though it was still oval in shape, there were more conspicuous dots on its surface. Through further amplification... the dots on the surface appeared to be tentacles that extended out from the cell. They kept wiggling. When one increased the amplification more, one could see that... each of the tentacles had something similar to a mouth attached to their end and it was feeding on everything around it...'How can someone make something like this?' Uncle Dan's heart sank, 'Such madness.'

    "Cough, cough." He Feng looked through the scope as well. This was the first time he encountered such a strange bacteria in his many years working at the disease control centre. Suddenly the door of the small lab opened and a few young people with guns walked in. The leading man's face was frightening. He Feng's team was dumbfounded, 'Are those burn scars? Does not look like so...'

    "Ah Jun!" Uncle Dan cried like he had just found salvation. "Quick, come and look at this."

    It finally dawned on He Feng, this was Gu Jun, Doctor Gu! His superior mentioned that Doctor Gu was the hero of this secret department.

    "Doctor Gu!" He Feng cried out as tears threatened to leak out from his eyes. "Save us, save my daughter...'

    From the moment Gu Jun walked into this lab, the illusions were luring him. He nodded in greeting at everyone before walking towards the microscope.

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