Disease Expert Breaks Down Pandemic Scenes From Film & TV

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This is a great scene breakdown of pandemic movies by a CDC expert.

What Brian Amman had to say about procedures and equipment was enlightening. I’ll bet this guy has been called up numerous times since making this video to act as a consultant.

Brian hit on my personal pet peeve: viruses can’t turn someone into a zombie in seconds.

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Just because we don’t know everything doesn’t mean we don’t know anything

When critiquing something in science fiction you sometimes run into this counter argument: “Well, scientists don’t know everything, so this might be possible.” Which is a valid argument in some cases, unless they violate fundamental laws of physics. And a virus that turns someone into a zombie in seconds definitely does so.


A virus has to be carried by the bloodstream from one cell to another. Therefore, the lower bound on how fast a virus could infect someone has to be limited by the rate of diffusion through the body. (This is around 45 seconds.) However, as Brian pointed out, the viruses first need to get into a cell, take over the cellular machinery for copying genes, and start replicating. That takes time. It also takes energy.

For a virus to spread that fast would involve a stupendous consumption of cellular energy (ATP). Any reactions that happened that quickly would heat the body to the point of combustion — zombie nova. 😉

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