Image from Steve Bowers
A genematode releases a cloud of viraphores to check and repair DNA and hunt for infections.

Following the outbreak of retroviral typhoid on the Luna settlement at Flamsteed crater in 378 a.t., Genetek developed a nematode-like defence system as an antiviral/antibacterial agent. At first expensive the treatment soon became indispensable.

A Genematode is a threadlike mobile multicellular blood-borne organ, 50 microns long and three microns in diameter. It is grown almost entirely from human tissue, with a small portion of nematode DNA to achieve its distinctive shape and mobility. Produced in the liver and bone marrow by the host as an inheritable genetic tweak, the genematode can move actively through the smallest capillary due to its threadlike design.

The genematode then extrudes a tube-like organ into the cell, and virus-like bodies called Viraphores are introduced and migrate towards the nucleus. The viraphores check the nuclear DNA against multiple copies which they carry. If any errors are found the DNA is replaced, and any viral infection is eliminated at this stage

This defence system eliminates invading viral DNA, and repairs cells with random mutations. Viruses in the bloodstream can often be caught by the viraphores which have been released into the blood system. If a viraphore detects any invading organisms in the bloodstream it signals the Genematode chemically; nearby genematodes release a cloud of viraphores which eliminate the intruders.

This relatively crude biotech immune system was commonly used by many human-derived clades up until the First Federation era, but has been replaced by more sophisticated nanosystems in most locations.

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Development Notes
Text by Steve Bowers
Initially published on 31 October 2001.