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This magazine piece was either a long feature on a notional global pandemic or part of a special edition focusing on this and other disaster scenarios. It would have been released around 1995-2005; I could have sworn it was from Wired, but I can't find it in their archives, or from other searches.

Relevant points:

  • The pandemic is caused by a virus; it either originated or got a major foothold in Asia. A symptom is that the infected person gets a burst of energy near the last stages of infection, nicknamed something like the "Hong Kong trot" or "Hong Kong jog," where they get really delusional and physically active, running through the general population and spreading the infection further.

  • One of the responses in the US is to seal off borders; the UN HQ in New York is quarantined and completely tented, in the style of the artist Christo. I believe there was an illustration showing this.

  • During the pandemic, global travel is halted, and researchers from the World Health Organization and others meet using telepresence and virtual reality.

  • The key breakthrough is made by a graphic designer on the team of researchers, when he or she is observing a VR visualization of the virus, and is able to observe something in its structure that eventually leads to the cure.

  • Was the virus by any chance engineered, or was it natural? – Mithrandir Feb 20 at 21:12
  • I don't recall, unfortunately. I don't believe it was material to the story. – Joelogon Feb 21 at 4:47

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