Boston Lab Is Growing Ebola Virus For Experimentation Purposes
Ebola is one of the world’s most terrifying illnesses. Whenever a case arises in the United States, typically stemming from international travel activities, we quickly move to trace, inform, and prevent. We do such things because we are terrified of Ebola. So it would only make sense that we’d look to eliminate it from the books of modern history as soon as possible.
All of that makes sense unless your Boston University’s prestigious and secure National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories, whereas, obtaining Ebola virus samples makes for “science.” Last Thursday, the lab announced that it not only had obtained Ebola samples, but also the related and similar Marburg virus.
Its all in the name of research, says the University, that will now experiment with the viruses as a way to “prevent a global health threat.”
“Microbiologist Elke Mühlberger says the lab’s first Level-4 projects will examine how the Ebola virus damages cells in the liver, and why it triggers such a powerful inflammatory response. Answers to those questions, she says, could speed the development of a therapy for Ebola virus disease,” the NEIDL relayed to the public in a statement.
In referring to the same experiments on her Boston University page, Mühlberger writes, “Together, these investigations will provide a better understanding of how filoviruses evade or modulate cellular antiviral mechanisms and will help to develop antiviral countermeasures.”
In 2017, Mühlberger created an entire video about “raising Ebola.”
Mühlberger’s goal is to study Ebola’s horrendous effects on the liver, as well as how and why it causes such a severe inflammatory response. Such a goal, of course, could reasonably lead to new medicines, or hopefully, a cure. Unfortunately, we don’t seem to aspire for cures as much as we do treatments, but that’s for another day.
From 2014 to 2016, an Ebola outbreak in West Africa claimed the lives of nearly 11,000 people. The dangerous effects experienced by those who contract Ebola are certainly not in question, rather, the idea that we are keeping and pursuing laboratory samples are being questioned. Such narratives have all the hallmarks of a modern science fiction movie, with none of the buttered popcorn to enjoy.
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NEIDL was given their Ebola and Marburg permit late last year. They had to prove they are a Bio-Safety Level-4 lab. We should trust the process to lead to a cure, that’s the ordinary and reasonable thinking in matters that involve the transport and storage of deadly pathogens. But I find myself wary of University labs storing deadly illnesses due to a variety of reasons.
We shouldn’t understate the transport of deadly pathogens as a potential disaster waiting to happen. Clearly, in order to transport a deadly pathogen, a number of persons must be introduced in the process, lending itself to even more potential nefarious undertakings.
The lab, now, becomes a target of those who’d wish to do our nation and people harm. Sure, the lab is secure, but how secure? Stranger things have happened, particularly when we consider the modern world of cyberwarfare that the most powerful countries in the world seemingly have little understanding. Are we one compromised lab worker away from a pandemic survival situation? I’m confident it isn’t that simple in terms of potentially decimated checks and balances, although, I’ve seen The Americans, so I trust no one.
The National Emerging Infectious Diseases Lab was built in 2008. The lab spent years rehearsing potential safety compromises as a way to obtain the rarely issued Bio-Safety Level-4 certification. Due to the CDC’s standards, the Ebola will be sealed and stored in air-tight containers and researchers must wear protective suits when handling it.
Delivery processes, another potential terrifying weakness in the chain, are overseen by Federal authorities.
In other words, there are a lot of places in the chain that could be compromised. The more people involved, the less secure. People are often greedy or function from a state of total incompetence, but I don’t have to tell that to you.
A state of constant paranoia is by no means, a healthy way to live life. However, being informed of what’s going on around us is by every standard, a wise approach to life. We are growing Ebola pathogens, that may result in a cure, it may not. But at least you’ve been told.
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.