Harnessing the hive mind

I need your help naming a virus.

The book I’m currently outlining revolves around a viral epidemic and I’m struggling to come up with an awesome name for it.

From my research, it appears that virus names come from all sorts of places, including the geographic locations where they’re first spotted (Lassa virus, first identified in a nurse in Lassa, Nigeria), the individuals who study them (Epstein-Barr virus, a herpes virus named after Michael Epstein and Yvonne Barr, who identified and documented it), the family or type of virus to which they belong (BSE, which causes Mad Cow: bovine spongiform encephalitis), or a from a description of their effects on the body (HIV: Human Immunodeficiency Virus).  Sometimes other factors play into the name; when Hanta virus was first identified it was called Sin Nombre (without name).

I don’t want to say too much, as this project is Top Secret, but for my book I’m developing a retrovirus (similar to HIV) that spreads via infected blood cells and (literally) causes an internal transformation within the host.  Right now I’m calling it Kinshasa Viral Metamorphosis (KVM), but I’m not sure I really love this name (nor am I wedded to the viral origin being the Democratic Republic of Congo).

All I care about is having at least some combination of the following:

1. a cool sounding name that abbreviates well

2. a name that lends itself to a nickname for the infected (here’s where I worry my current name breaks down; the only nickname I can think of of is “shasies”, which I fear is lame).

3. a name that implies the victims are changed in a fundamental way

4. a name that alludes to the fact that – beyond its general class (retrovirus) and its spreading mechanism (blood-borne) – the virus is poorly understood

So, here’s where you can help.  I need an awesome virus name with an equally awesome nickname for the infected.  There are many details I haven’t settled on yet (including the names of the people who documented the virus or where it originated), so feel free to use the comments to propose any and all ideas that come to mind.

Please, and thank you!