FunVax scientist: “On the left over here, we have individuals who are religious fundamentalists, religious fanatics. And this is the expression of rt-pcr, real-time pcr expression of the VMAT2 gene.
Over here we have individuals, so – so let me complete – so over here we have individuals who are not particularly fundamentalists, not particularly religious, and you can see there’s a much reduced expression of this particular gene – that the VMAT2 gene.
Another evidence that, that supports our hypothesis for the development of this approach. -“
Audience attendee: “What you’re suggesting here is by, by spreading this virus we’re going to eliminate individuals from donning on a bomb vest and going into a market, blowing up the market.”
FunVax scientist: “So our hypothesis is that these are fanatical people, that they have over expression of the VMAT2 gene and that by vaccinating them against this, will eliminate this behavior.
So we have some, some very, very remarkable data in this next slide. Here we have two brain scans, these are fMRIs – these are two different individuals with different levels of expression of the VMAT2.
On top is an individual who’s a religious fanatic, and individual, and we’ve repeated this numerous times that, that has high levels of VMAT2. Now, um, this individual down here who had low levels of the VMAT2 gene, this individual would self-describe as, as not particularly religious. In each case, these individuals were read a religious text – this individual light – lit up the right middle frontal gyrus, shown here, and that’s a part of the brain that’s associated with theory of mind. It’s a part of the brain that has to do with intense and in beliefs and desires.
In contrast, in mark contrast, here’s an individual who would not particularly self-describe as, as religious, and when they’re read a religious text, what you see is that this part of the brain called the anterior insula lights up. This is a part of the brain that’s associated with disgust or displeasure on hearing something.”
Audience attendee: “Do you suggesting, like, take a CT scan with me when I’m evaluating people to determine whether I put a bullet in their head?”
FunVax scientist: “So, so um the data that I’m presenting here, uh, supports the concept that we’re proposing, uh, and I think that we would not propose to do CT scans or fMRIs on individuals out in the hinterlands of Afghanistan.
The virus would immunize against this VMAT2 gene and that would have the effect that you see here which is, it’s essentially to turn a fanatic into a, a normal person. And we think that will have major effects in the Middle East.”
Audience attendee: “How would you suggest that this is going to be dispersed? Aerosol? Or…?”
FunVax scientist: “Well, so, so the present plan, and the test that we’ve done so far have used respiratory viruses such as flu, or rhinoviruses, and we believe that that’s a satisfactory way to get the exposure of the largest part of the population. Most of us, of course, have been exposed to both of those viruses and we’re, we’re quite confident that this will be a very successful approach.”
Audience attendee: “This is fascinating. What’s the name of this proposal?”
FunVax scientiest: “Yes, so, so the name of this project is FunVax, which is the vaccine for religious fundamentalism.“
Audience attendee: “And you have a proposal already?”
FunVax Scientist: “The proposal has just been submitted and I think that the data that I have shown you today would, would support the, the development of this project and we think it has great promise.”