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Chapter 28

Plague Doctor
     Chapter 28: Chapter 28

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    "The ability to infect and bind together with other organisms while retaining the ability to grow is the main manifestation of the Malformed Banyan Disease. The end stages of how far it can grow are something that we are unable to determine ourselves."

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    Professor Qin continued to explain to the audience, "When we placed the Malformed Banyan inside a vacuum-sealed laboratory and removed almost all the air, the Malformed Banyan would die in about half an hour. After observation, we found that all hearts would stop beating. The blood and black fluid in their entire body would have stopped circulating and were displaying the same behavior as corpses. Just like the normal life activity of the body, it needs to be preserved with formalin. This is its death state."

    "In the death state, its black liquid loses its activeness and is no longer contagious. When a creature approaches it, it can still exhibit an unconditioned reflex which is the sound you just saw. Using an X-ray, we found that the sound was produced by squeezing multiple speech organs in its throat. The words were inferred to be the last words of the dead before losing self-consciousness. When their eyes were closed, the reflex would stop. As for the principle of this unconditioned reflex, it is still being studied."

    The big screen played the related X-ray video, and everyone could clearly see how the vocal cords, trachea, and oesophagus of the banyan tree were squeezed in a strange manner.

    The video was marked with the words "Tenth Day of Death". It had been such a long time and had even been soaked in formalin, yet it could still display such an unconditioned reflex.

    Gu Jun remembered an animal experiment that he once did in class and said to others, "Doesn't this remind you of the unconditioned scratching reflex of a frog?"

    Cai Zixuan and the rest heard his words and suddenly felt like they grasped the crux of the issue!

    

    "Similar. It's indeed very similar." Wang Ruoxiang turned his eyes and started thinking divergently. "Could the black liquid cause the skin function as a sensor? As soon as one gets close, the breath he breathes out may irritate the skin. The afferent and efferent nerves are still alive, hence causing this reflex to occur. "

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    "I think so too," Gu Jun thought and nodded. "This has indeed become an entirely different kind of creature."

    Scratch reflex was a gruesome experiment to carry out. They must first cut off the head of the experimental frog and remove the brain. At this time, the frog was naturally dead. In the short period after its death, the frog would use the hind limbs to scratch the stimulated area, as though defying its status as a corpse, when they smeared the skin of the frog's abdomen with a piece of paper stained with a low-concentration of sulfuric acid.

    That was because there was another nerve centre at the unspoiled frog's spinal cord. There are also multiple reflex arcs in the body which will react when stimulated.

    How the Malformed Banyan could die but still howl may be due to this behavior. It's just that the "short-term" after death was very long for humans, and the external stimulus required to stimulate it was a biological creature approaching.

    "Scratch reflex." Professor Gu heard their discussion and gave an affirmation with a smile, "I was even excited about the possibility of ghosts existing in this world."

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    As Professor Qin already mentioned that this was an unconditional reflex, Gu Jun was not the only one within the entire stadium who thought of the scratch reflex. Many teachers and students whispered excitedly about it.

    Everyone still remained in a state of shock. Still, they were finally able to use modern medicine to understand the strange abomination. This vastly reduced their fear, and surprise grew in its place.

    At this time, Sun Yuheng from the Qingyun University team raised his hand and asked, "Professor Qin, what about the pathogen related to the banyan tree which you have mentioned? Is this a virus? What is the method of spreading?"

    These three consecutive questions were what all the present teachers and students wanted to know, especially the first question.

    Unfortunately, Professor Qin replied, "I can't divulge too many details about the pathogen. This is a virus. Fortunately, we have found that there are only two ways to spread it. The first is biological contact with the source of the banyan tree. The second is to have direct contact with the active black liquid from patients in the bereavement stage."

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    After listening to these answers, everyone let out sighs of relief. So long as the disease-causing banyan tree is extinguished and the patients in the bereavement stage were properly quarantined, the situation would not be too dire.

    The most fearsome possibility was if the virus could be transmitted through respiratory tract droplets like SARS or even the Ebola virus that could be transmitted through the air.

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    Although the Banyan Malformation Disease was more terrifying, only those aforementioned viruses could break out like the Black Death epidemic in medieval Europe.

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    Many teachers and students managed to settle their nerves. Humans have triumphed over SARS and controlled Ebola. We are not afraid of this Banyan Malformation Disease!

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    "However, what we may be facing in the future could not only be this Banyan Malformation Disease." Professor Qin's calm and solemn words pulled them back to the edge of hell.

    "I believe everyone now understands the purpose of this competition." Professor Qin paused. "But now... I can say that the situation is changing, and we require more hands on-board with our work."

    Everyone captured the key point again. The situation was changing!

    Sure enough, Professor Qin went on to say, "It is a pity that not all of you have the qualifications we value. The test was just the first, and probably only one in ten people will pass. These students will be able to proceed to the next assessment. Other people can participate in regular clinical skill competition and serve as a bridge between our department and regular hospitals."

    The old man solemnly continued, "So it can also be said that you are all hired. The country needs you. It needs more talents. This will not be the only round of selection, and your career ascension path will not be blocked. Everyone, give it your all."

    Professor Qin's eyes gradually swivelled over to look at Eastern University and stared at Gu Jun, who was sitting in the back row. "As for the qualifications we want for our department, first is will; second is medical skills. Neither must be lacking. Alright, everyone can take a break first. "

    These should not be separate events, but there existed a connection between them that he did not know yet.

    As his voice fell, Professor Qin and the other judges walked to the aisle.

    The staff finally removed the big iron cage.

    With the abomination gone from the stadium, the air seemed to be much fresher. The teachers and students felt that the dark clouds above them were gone.

    Sometimes, ignorance was truly a blessing.

    As for whether they have passed this round of assessment, the students knew the answers in their hearts. Some people understood that they really lacked that kind of qualification. If they were put into Gu Jun's position and stoodbeside the Malformed Banyan just now, their legs would have long turned into jelly.

    Some hoped and longed for themselves to enter the next round. Gu Jun was one of them.

    After a while, the shortlisted candidates were announced on the big screen. The names of the students were listed on it. Hundreds of people in the audience all stared at it.

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