8

I read this at least 10 years ago and I do not remember it being very new. So it is possibly older than that.

The protagonist is a scientist working in a genetics related field. The book deals with an epidemic spreading across the world slowly pushing towards and end of the world / zombie apocalypse type situation.

Two things I distinctly remember:

1) One of the early symptoms of the disease is loss of inhibition. There is mention of a colleague of the protagonist who flashes him in the shower area. Also the protagonist's wife, who is a painter, starts painting more risque pictures before turning macabre.

2) There is a short DNA segment which the protagonist keeps remembering like a tune stuck in his mind throughout the novel. This piece of DNA turns out to be key to a cure at the end.

3

If the epidemic lowers people's intelligence, it could be IQ 83, (1978), by Arthur Herzog. I think I recall it having both of the events you remember.

YOU ARE DR. JAMES HEALEY AND LAST WEEK YOU WERE A GENIUS That was before the DNA experiments. Before the accident you said could never happen… Since then you have felt your mind decaying a little more each day. You have watched your wife slip into imbecility. You have seen the crowds growing murderous with animal terror, the President of the United States babbling and drooling on TV… Only one thing separates you from them. You, at least, know what is happening as you search for the cure for the horror you have unleashed upon the world—as each day the dimming of your mind lowers your chance of finding it!

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