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The Treatment

Posted on 26 May 2016 @ 3:35am by Lieutenant Commander Temerant Bast & Master Chief Petty Officer Anya Bergman Ph.D. & Lieutenant Commander Jayla Kij & Lieutenant Commander Adam Casey

Mission: Outbreak
Timeline: MD9 : 1032

Jayla stared at the monitor, trying to detect any anomaly that could be hazardous to anyone's health, but saw nothing. She'd have felt better if the computer had detected something, but it hadn't. Somehow, when events went off without a hitch, it made her nervous because it meant that whatever could go wrong was still to come.

Bast had produced far more antibodies than they had anticipated and isolating the T-cells had been easier than expected. Even now, nothing seemed amiss. "Do you guys see anything out of the ordinary?" she asked them nervously.

Bast was sprawled out on the cot on which Kij had slept. His body felt drained of energy, as his metabolism had been fighting the infection by producing massive amounts of the antibody. He'd run a slight fever, and his lymph nodes had swollen a bit.

Doctor Bergman, one of the ship's leading biologists, had come in to assist them with the procedures. She walked up to the monitor, and examined the data. "Everything seems to be in order," she stated, a slight Scandinavian accent tinting her words. She brought up a holographic display of the virus, along with a scan of the antibody they had detected in Bast's blood. The computer highlighted the epitope on the virus's capsid, and the matching molecular structure on the antibody that would bind to the virus, attaching the two together.

Jayla frowned. "How about you, Casey?" she asked. "Would you feel safe giving this to your daughter?"

"Right now, I'm finding it hard to trust anything from either of you." Adam replied, glaring at them. He looked at the information on the screen in front of him. "I want to run a few simulations on samples from both of you idiots."

"Give it up Adam, you've made your point," replied Bast. "It was one thing when the ship's Chief Medical Officer - and Chief investigator in this case - risked incapacitating herself, but I'm pretty much non-essential personnel in this crisis." He wiped the sweat from his brow. "Run your tests, but don't take too long. We've got a lot of people waiting for this therapy."

"You're the Chief of Operations, Bast." Adam replied, glaring at him as he injected a small sample of the formulae that they had come up with. "I wouldn't call that non essential." He added, as he looked through a microscope. "Doesn't seem to have much effect." He said, looking up from the microscope. "It seems to delay the virus, but not much else. I'm going to analyse the virus and see if I can break it down into its base components, maybe find a way to attack one of them instead of all of them, which should disrupt the link, rendering the virus inert." He said, as he went over to the desk where he had set up several machines.

Bergman grabbed a tube filled with plasma extracted from Bast's blood, and another filled with a virus suspension. Using a micropipette, she drew a hundred microliters of viral solution, and added it to the plasma. She gave it a quick stir, discarded the micropipette tip into a biohazard container, and poured the plasma solution into a glass petri dish, which she then slipped under the microscanner. She activated the monitor. Within seconds, they saw the antibodies contained in Bast's blood clotting around the Risan virus.

"I wouldn't call that ineffective," she said. "The virus isn't being recognized by the patients' immune systems - except for Trill, that is, because our immune system seems to be the only one that recognizes it as a threat. Trill have antibodies that are able to attach to the capsid. Now if we inject the antibodies to a non-Trill victim, along with an immunosuppressant, this would give the Trill antibodies time to seek out the Risan virus and attach to it. When the immunosuppressant wears off, the patient's immune system would then recognize the Trill antibodies as foreign agents, and attack them - along with the virus." She looked at Casey. "Of course the antibodies don't destroy the virus themselves. But they mark it for destruction by the patient's immune system."

"Then let's try it." Adam said.

Bergman picked up the plasma vial, and moved to a molecular sorter, which would isolate the immunoglobulins they needed from the rest of the material present in the vial, essentially purifying the antibodies for use. After a few minutes, she brought back two vials, one filled with a clearer liquid containing the antibodies, and another with a yellowish solution, containing the T-cell responsible for producing the antibody.

Bast looked at Kij. "We need a test subject," he said.

Jayla took a deep breath and headed over to where Amy lay, sedated, but still awake. She took out her tricorder and started preliminary scans.

"What?"

She checked the scan and reset the tricorder. She scanned again. "This can't be right," she said, snatching another tricorder and running the scans again. She looked up at the others. "She's sleeping," she said. "And she's got a fever.

"That we already knew." Adam said. "What's your point?"

"She shouldn't be," she said, glancing around for a syringe and vacuum tube. Finding them, she quickly took a sample and plugged it into the computer for testing. "Come on, come on," she muttered as the computer ran the tests. Finally it beeped.

Jayla's mouth feel open.

"I don't believe it," she said. "She's producing the antibodies. It's the same one! How is she- how did she- how can-?" She blinked and turned to the rest of them. "How is that possible?"

"It's not," replied Bergman. "Immunoglobulins are very specific, they cannot target two different viruses. If this patient is infected by two viruses, she is not a good choice to test this therapy. We need to find someone else."

She looked over the current manifest for Sickbay. Captain Geisler was amongst the most critical patients, but they couldn't risk testing an experimental treatment on the ship's commanding officer. Cadet Cherno was also listed as one of the most critical. "This patient," selected Bergman. "There are no signs of opportunistic infection, and she is otherwise in good health. She is an ideal subject."

Jayla was going to point out that there were two different antibodies in Amy's blood sample, but she realized they couldn't worry about that right now. Amy was sleeping and her system was handling the infection. They now had to work on getting everyone on the ship better. Shooting an apologetic look at Casey, she followed Bergman out into the main Sickbay.

Bergman led the way to the main treatment ward, and walked over to Cherno's biobed. The young cadet appeared unconscious, but they knew by now that those appearances were deceptive - patients approaching terminal condition appeared conscious, but their mind was fully awake until the final hours. She pushed the blankets off Cherno's arm, and pressed the hpospray to the crook of her elbow.

"Now we wait," said Bergman.

"How long should it take?" asked Bast.

"I would expect improvement within two to three hours," replied Bergman.

"I'll keep an eye on her," said Jayla. "We have to know what happens exactly when it happens." She pulled over a stool and perched herself on it right next to the Cadet's bed.

"I'll be remaining with Amy. I'll take her to sickbay, she'll probably be better there in case anything happens." Adam said, as he went to his daughter's cot.

Oh, right. Amy. Jayla had forgotten already. "Bring her over here, next to Cherno," she called after Adam. "Then I can keep an eye on both of them." She wanted to know how Amy was producing the antibody on her own when no other human had yet to do so. In fact, she should check Maria, too. If it had anything to do with that second virus they'd each had, she wanted to know.

"Computer," called out Bergman. "Initiate continuous biometric monitoring of the patient in Biobed Six. Audio warnings on any change in biometric markers by a value greater than ten percent from current baseline."

The computer chirped for a second while it set up and activated the appropriate subroutines. "Acknowledged," it finally replied.

* * *
Two hours later
* * *

"Warning," came the computer's voice. "Delta-band brain wave activity has increased by ten percent."

Bergman looked up from her data padd. Commander Casey had dozed off on his chair next to his daughter, Doctor Kij had stepped away to care for another patient, and Lieutenant Bast was sitting closeby, his head down over a data padd.

Bergman looked at the patient's life signs, Everything had improved - blood pressure was up, heart rate was stabilizing, breathing patterns were regular, and brain wave activity was returning to normal. Delta-band increases meant that the patient was sleeping - actually sleeping, which had been all but impossible up until that point. There was definite improvement. Lymphocytic activity had increased significantly.

"Lieutenant," called out Bergman. "We have definite improvement. Her immune system seems to have kicked in, and is battling the infection."

Bast remained hunched over his data padd.

"Lieutenant!"

Bast looked up this time at Bergman's louder call. "Sorry," he said sheepishly.

"Were you listening ot me, or were you distracted by a bumblebee?" asked Bergman, annoyed at being ignored when she finally had good news to report.

"Sorry," he said again, his brow furrowed. "We have improvement?"

"Yes," said Bergman. "Her biometric readings have improved across the board." She picked up a hypospray with a vacuum tube, and drew blood. She then placed the sample in a bioscanner, and brought up the image on the main monitor. She isolated one of the viruses. "Every virus in her system is now attached to antibodies, making it recognizable for her immune system. She's now fighting off the infection all by herself."

Something on the monitor drew her attention. She adjusted the focus on the virus more tightly, and typed a few commands on the console. Finally she nodded. "And it seems that her system is now recognizing the virus itself, and not just the Trill antibodies. It's like we made her system pay attention to the virus by using the Trill antibodies, but now that her system has noticed, it's finally beginning to react to the infection."

"So we don't need Trill antibodies to attach to each and every copy of the virus in her system," summarized Bast.

"Exactly," said Bergman. "We still need a good amount to start the chain reaction, but once that's done, her natural defenses will take over."

"And that's good, right?" asked Bast.

"That's good," confirmed Bergman.

"So we've got ourselves a cure."

"Yes."

"Then let's get Doctor Kij, and tell her the good news."

"What good news?" asked Jayla, overhearing part of their conversation as she approached.

"Irma says our young cadet is showing signs of improvement," said Bast.

"Anya," corrected Bergman.

"Excuse me?" asked Bast. He was still feeling the exhaustion brought on by serving as guinea pig for the experiment. The swelling had gone down on his lymph nodes, and the slight fever he'd been running had subsided, but he still felt tired nonetheless.

"My name is Anya."

"Not Irma?"

Bergman shook her head.

"Thought it was Irma." He turned back to Kij. "She's doing better across the board."

Bergman ran down the cadet's lifesigns for the ship's Chief Medical Officer. "She is currently sleeping," she concluded, showing Kij a diagram of Cherno's brain wave patterns.

Jayla's eyes went wide. "It's working!" she said with a sigh of relief. "How many more can we treat with what we've got?"

Bergman picked up the vial containing the antibodies and examined it. "If we draw more blood from the Lieutenant, I think we'll have enough for the critical patients. But we need to clone the T-cell and start mass production for the rest of the crew. To say nothing of the people on the planet."

"Okay," said Jayla. "You two work on cloning and I'll get the critical patients treated. I think we should put them all in the same spot, too; it'll be easier to keep an eye on them."

Bergman looked at Bast, and nodded. "We should get back to the lab," she said. "Would any of you like to wake up Commander Casey?"

"I'm already awake. Just been resting my eyes." Adam said, opening his eyes. "I'm staying here with my children. They need me."

"We can move them back to the lab with us," said Bast. "The ship also needs its Chief Science Officer."

"Fine." He said, as he looked at Maria, who was starting to open her eyes. "Hey sweetheart." He whispered, holding his daughter close. He allowed a tear to fall as she wrapped her arms around him.

 

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