what deadly disease inspired Steven Soderbergh’s film?

Broadcast this Wednesday, November 23 on TMC at 9:25 p.m., Contagion, released in 2011, follows the emergence of a pandemic caused by a deadly virus. But is the illness depicted in the film real or just fictional?

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Steven Soderbergh the visionary? Ten years before Covid-19, the director of the trilogy Ocean’s and of Sex, Lies and Video, awarded at Cannesplunges us into the heart of a fictional epidemic in Contagionbroadcast this Wednesday, November 23 on TMC at 9:25 p.m. Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Laurence Fishburne or Kate Winslet, helped by its role during the pandemicare faced with Mev-1 virus. The film thus opens with the sudden death of patient zero returning from a trip to Hong Kong. Then follows the global spread of an unknown disease…

Contagion : a realistic and visionary film?

In Contagion, a pandemic is raging across the globe. Fatal cases are multiplying and panic quickly invades the population while the pharmaceutical companies lead a fierce fight to develop a vaccine. A story that sounds like deja vu, doesn’t it? It is not trivial if during the epidemic of sars coronavirus, the feature film of Steven Soderberghshunned during its theatrical release, experienced a surge in popularity in streaming. For his second collaboration with the American director, screenwriter Scott Z. Burns asks the Doctor Ian Lipkin, director of Columbia University’s Mailman School, to act as scientific consultant on the set. Consequently, the production has access to documents of the world health organization (WHO) to support the realism of the film. And what a success! Indeed, when it was released in September 2011, many scientific experts warned of the potential emergence of such a pandemic in the years to come…

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Contagion : a deadly virus as a source of inspiration

But if similarities with covid-19 exist, the Doctor Ian Lipkin affirm that Mev-1 is inspired not by a coronavirus but by the Nipah virus. Born in South Asia in the 90s, it belongs to the family of paramyxoviruses, transmitted by bats. In 1998, this infectious agent was the cause of an epidemic in Malaysia. Exposure to Nipah in particular causes respiratory disorders which can be highly lethal. “With a mortality rate of more than 70%, this virus is, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), an emerging infectious agent likely to trigger severe epidemics if it were to evolve to gain in transmissibility.“, details the Pasteur Institute. Today, Nipah continues to panic the region of the Indian subcontinent. In 2021, he is responsible for the death of a 12-year-old child in India. No treatment or vaccine currently exists to stem the disease.

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