What if Glasgow really had a zombie apocalypse?

GLASGOW has been the epicentre of zombie attacks before, and it is about to be again when the latest Brad Pitt movie hits our screens.

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Dr Shaun Killen from the University of Glasgow, second from left, and ‘Zombiologist’ Ian Alexander, aka Dr Smith (holding tennis racquet/crossbow), with zombies ahead of their show at the Glasgow Science Festival
Dr Shaun Killen from the University of Glasgow, second from left, and ‘Zombiologist’ Ian Alexander, aka Dr Smith (holding tennis racquet/crossbow), with zombies ahead of their show at the Glasgow Science Festival

We have seen Scotland cut off from the rest of the UK in the 2008 film Doomsday, while World War Z saw George Square transformed into Philadelphia and filled with dozens of the undead.

But if you have ever wondered what it might be like if it happened for real, a special show could answer your questions.

Dead Sleazy will include a spoof lecture as well as a question-and-answer session with real disease specialists from Glasgow University.

Zombie fans will be able to pit their questions against the top minds in the field, to find out what could happen if the city was hit by a deadly virus.

Professor Rowland Kao, an expert in mathematical biology – the study of infectious disease dynamics – explained how society might react to a zombie apocalypse.

"People in extreme pressure revert to natural types," he said.

"My guess is you would get some people who would react very unselfishly. Other people would become very much every man for himself.

"The key thing is that the roles of society we use to bind ourselves together, which are laid over our innate characters – they just disappear."

As part of the show, on Thursday June 6, zombiologist Dr Smith, also known as Ian Alexander, will deliver an interactive survivor's guide to zombie attacks.

It is set in a lecture hall and Dr Smith, from the Zombie Institute for Theoretical Studies (ZITS), will explore the science of genetics and disease-control behind a new viral outbreak called 'zombieism'.

The audience is in the first stage of a recruitment drive to find people to help combat the disease.

A question-and-answer session with Prof Kao and Dr Shaun Killen, an animal behaviour expert, will follow. Zombie cult classic The Evil Dead will also be screened.

While a zombie apocalypse may be confined to the cinema screens, the chance of a virus outbreak is considerably more likely.

Prof Kao said diseases which could potentially cause a pandemic were Ebola virus and strains of flu such as swine flu and bird flu, which have previously threatened the UK.

Ebola, mainly confined to remote parts of Africa, is particularly scary because it kills quickly. Its symptoms include internal and external bleeding.

Prof Kao said: "A lot of the zombie movies have a virus starting off the epidemic.

"If you know someone is a zombie, you will avoid them, in the same way as if there is a pandemic flu and you know somebody looks like they have got flu like symptoms, then you might avoid them.

"You can use ideas like that and ask: "What are the ways in which we see zombies telling us about how we understand diseases transmit?'"

As reported in the Evening Times, Glasgow's Grosvenor cinema in Ashton Lane, will host an exclusive showing of World War Z on June 19, two days before the official date of the film's release.

The film's trailer shows scenes of Glasgow, which were filmed during August 2011.

n Dead Sleazy is part of Glasgow Science Festival, and is at Nice 'n' Sleazy on June 6, from 7.30pm until 11pm. Over 18s only.

Tickets £5. To book visit www.glasgowsciencefestival.org.uk

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