CHARBONNEAU – Art imitates life in movie Contagion

THE MOVIE CONTAGION (2011) accurately predicted some aspects of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, the movie is meant to be entertaining and has a happy ending. (Spoiler alert: I’m going to reveal some details of the film.)

Nobody needed a crystal ball to predict the film’s fictional epidemic. It was obvious to anyone who watched the SARS pandemic of 2003. The movie’s screenwriter, Scott Z. Burns, conducted months of in-depth research into the science of pandemics and recruited epidemiologists to develop a realistic plot, edit the script, and train the actors who would portray health officials, doctors and scientists.

The SARS-CoV-1 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) is a model for the film. Like all coronavirus outbreaks, including the film’s fictional one called MEV-1, it’s thought to have originated from bats that spread to other animals. In Contagion, the spread of MEV-1 is traced to pigs which have been infected by bats.


David Charbonneau is a retired TRU electronics instructor who hosts a blog at

About Mel Rothenburger (8316 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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