Pandemic horror Contagion is currently one of the most-watched films on Netflix.

The 2011 thriller from director Steven Soderbergh now feels very timely due to its focus on a deadly virus sweeping the globe as the world today faces the coronavirus pandemic.

The film follows a fictional newly emerged virus - the MEV-1 pathogen - which spreads across the globe and wreaks havoc with the lives of countless people.

Contagion is made up of multiple parallel plot threads that show the scope of the threat and how efforts are made to combat it and the effects the pandemic is having.

However, the chilling film managed to 'predict' a number of aspects of a deadly virus hitting the world's human population.

Jude Law portrays a conspiracy theorist exacerbating the problems of Contagion

*Spoiler warning for Contagion*

Having been based on the 2002-2004 SARS outbreak and the 2009 swine flu pandemic, screenwriter Scott Z. Burns spent time in consultation with the World Health Organization (WHO) and a number of health experts when writing the script, ensuring it is as close to the experience of a real-world outbreak as possible.

Similar to what is believed to be the origins of coronavirus and SARS, MEV-1 broke out in China as a result of spreading from bats to humans via a wild animal meat market.

Gwyneth Paltrow plays an early patient of the deadly virus

In the film, the index case is identified as working mother Beth Emhoff, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, who catches the virus from a handshake with a chef who had handled infected meat.

The virus claims Beth's life and that of her son Clark, but her husband Mitch ( Matt Damon ) is released after initially being quarantined as he proved to be an asymptomatic patient.

Similarly to some individuals infected with COVID-19, Mitch has caught the virus but does not present symptoms, yet he can infect other individuals who will be seriously harmed by the virus.

Matt Damon is an asymptomatic patient in the film

Like measures being used to fight the current pandemic, it quickly becomes clear that the best way to battle the virus is through hand washing and social distancing.

The authorities in Contagion warn the public that the best thing to do is to stay at home to avoid contamination and thoroughly wash their hands.

In fact, one of the most memorable scenes in the film focuses on Kate Winslet's Epidemic Intelligence Officer named Dr Erin Mears, who comments that people touch their face 3,000 times a minute - with a huge increase in the risk of infection.

Kate starred in the 2011 blockbuster Contagion as a health worker investigating the outbreak
Marion Cotillard plays an epidemiologist who traces the origins of the virus for the WHO

In fact, Mears and WHO epidemiologist Dr Lenora Orantes ( Marion Cotillard ) fulfil the roles that many health workers are doing across the world - tracking cases and trying to determine how the virus is disseminating across the globe and where it originated.

The consequences of the virus in the film also have some stark parallels between our current predicament.

In addition to scenes being shown of panic buying - in the film in a pharmacy - we also see how much of a strain the pandemic places on health services and how their risk of infection is higher due to contact with infected patients.

Contagion also features scenes of panic buying

Sadly, without personal protective equipment (PPE), the character of Dr Mears is infected and killed by the virus similarly to heroic but tragic real-life health workers.

Dr. Ellis Cheever ( Laurence Fishburne ) also deals with a dilemma that many health professionals are facing as they are deliberately separating themselves from loved ones to avoid infecting them, as seen by his telling his spouse ( Sanaa Lathan ) to leave town.

Rather alarmingly, we are also witnessing the kind of conspiracy theories that are pedalled by Internet sensation Alan Krumwiede ( Jude Law ) in the film, who sparks further panic and misinformation.

A scientist played by Jennifer Ehle tests a vaccine on herself in the film

This issue is even more prevalent now with the increased use of social media and receiving information from unreliable sources meaning that fake news about the virus is rampant in 2020.

Ultimately, one aspect that we can hope the current pandemic reflects from Contagion is that we too eventually find a cure for the virus.

In Soderbergh's film, Dr. Ally Hextall ( Jennifer Ehle ) tests an experimental vaccine on herself with a reduced virulence of the pathogen, risking infection, but ultimately proving to be a success.

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The vaccine is subsequently rolled out by the World Health Organization.

However, like we are shown in Contagion, even if this best case scenario does happen, the world will never be the same again.

Contagion is available now on Netflix UK.