Alien Blood Parasites – Defining a SF Concept

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Hiv-AidsIn a story I’m writing, someone contracts an alien blood parasite.  There is no cure for the fatal wasting disease it visits upon him. It is described in part as “hollowing him out, sucking him dry like a gourd”, but also as rewriting his DNA, and flooding his system with alien toxins. The parasite, or its effects, or DNA altered by it, are in every cell of his body, and when they eventually get into his brain cells, threaten his mental acuity. They are slow to penetrate the blood/brain barrier for some reason, or perhaps medical intervention has slowed them down. The patient’s life has been prolonged so far by selective organ replacement and frequent infusions of fresh blood (or scrubbing of the old), but there is nothing that can be done once it’s in his brain.

Now I am trying to get clear in my head how all these factors could reasonably co-exist, or, I will have to rewrite the bug and the illness so people with science or medical backgrounds don’t lose suspension of disbelief because of something unintentionally implausible on the page.

This brings me then to think through in detail the process this alien parasite goes through in a human host.

I can’t discuss this more deeply right now because I need to think about my little alien bug conundrum in more detail before I explore its mechanisms in writing. Some part of the parasite must act like a virus (it carries a virus?), but how does the transmission/infection mechanism work, precisely, and what exactly are the effects?  I envision something HIV-like in its capacity to aggressively rewrite DNA, but how does this link to a parasite per se, and the observed physical impact on a human host? Right now I have questions and not many answers.

I am posting this snippet because I’d like to invite readers to share their thoughts on the problem outlined above. How is this alien parasite operating to have the effects noted?

Ideas and comments are welcome.

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