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Japan to import Ebola virus for research

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Cripes, personally speaking, and with all the money Japan is spending on these Olympics, I would rather have these researchers take their work to the labs overseas that already have these viruses under lock and key.

Call me paranoid if you want, but I just dont trust these Japanese labs to keep things safe!

20 ( +21 / -1 )

I’m with you Yubaru.

Why wouldn’t they just join one of the many laboratories that are open throughout the world? They are constantly opening their doors to skilled professionals.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Yes, agree completely with you guys. Why pray tell does one have to "move the mountain to Muhammad" when he could easily go to the mountain?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Agree with the above. Want to know what could go wrong? Have you ever read Stephen King's The Stand? Captain trips coming at you.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Let’s hope the scrutiny of the security is at its highest level. I’d hate to think what would happen if one of these viruses was purposely let loose in a Tokyo subway. It would make the sarin gas attack look like a picnic.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

What could possibly go wrong? Sounds like the first chapter to an armageddon thriller.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Waiting for the 65-year-old lab technician in charge of the packet to forget it in a station restroom, or drop it on the Ginza line at rush hour.

Anyone ever read "The Hot Zone" by Richard Preston?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Since this is something that concerns the population of Japan,

shouldn't the public have a say in wether or not this should happen?

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Its officials have repeatedly held meetings with local residents and invited them to the facility to explain about the planned virus studies.

And yet, this is the first time I've ever heard of this.

This is in western Tokyo.

I object 100%.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

If anything goes wrong a few thousand yen like in the hansenbyo verdict last week will settle any claims and no repercussion to the bereaucrats who dreamt this up.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"We have come to a good level of understanding on the matter. It is a major stride toward protection" against the potential threats of the viruses as the country prepares to welcome spectators of the sporting event from all over the world," Nemoto told reporters.

WHAT?

Be we, the general public, do not have any information except what is here, now.

I do not blindly trust bureaucrats in decisions that could put me and mine at risk!

Does anyone else here get a very real sense of what they are saying here?

The Olympic Games could carry a threat of possible exposure

so Japan will import these life threatening viruses, as a way to study them. as protection?

Are you kidding me?

I feel like this is as scary as the nuclear accident, and the fact that the public is only informed

after the decision was made is outrageous!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Could they at least study it on a remote island - and make the delivery direct?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

And if any of crazy researcher try to see what happen after use or push to others?

what will happen then?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Call me paranoid if you want, but I just dont trust these Japanese labs to keep things safe!

This is not a movie, biological samples don't go flying by themselves and infect people magically, labs in Japan have handled for decades plenty of lethal pathogens without ever being any outbreaks, mistakes and lack of oversee are astronomically more likely to simply end up in wasted money because the samples die.

Why wouldn’t they just join one of the many laboratories that are open throughout the world?

Because they are a very competed resource that requires literally months of training under the wind of an experienced researcher before even beginning the work? Japan has the labs, has the people that knows how to work here, there is no realistic possibility of a leakage (no, not even with natural disasters, living things die with power failures, etc) What is the purpose of having the resources (and paying millions to keep them in working conditions) only to not used them because of irrational fears?

Have you ever read Stephen King's The Stand? Captain trips coming at you.

As anybody with a biology/infectious diseases background the story is simply fantasy, he is a good writer but he knows quite little about pathogens so it ends up being just a magical bug that breaks all laws of physics and chemistry in order to do what the story needs.

 I’d hate to think what would happen if one of these viruses was purposely let loose in a Tokyo subway

In a first world country? a few cases before the epidemiological controls kick in, the diseases are much less dangerous if you have access to a intensive care unit and people trained to treat them without getting infected themselves. And since we already have access to vaccines...

Waiting for the 65-year-old lab technician in charge of the packet to forget it in a station restroom, or drop it on the Ginza line at rush hour.

If you think that would end up in outbreaks you should really stop seeing so many movies, By the time somebody ignore the multiple warnings and opens all the packages containing boxes containing plastic bottles containing receptacles containing test tubes with the pathogens they would be out of freezing condition too long to be much danger.

Also, no, transport of biohazard material is not done by technicians and much less alone.

shouldn't the public have a say in wether or not this should happen?

Already has, fortunately with more education and less magical thinking, why do you think there is already a BSL4 lab to work with the pathogens?

I do not blindly trust bureaucrats in decisions that could put me and mine at risk!

Not importing the pathogens will put you at more risk, so the bureacrats should not be trusted to inform the public because it may lead to people that ignore the whole thing and base their knowledge on fictional movies and books to protest and then choose for you the more risky option?

Could they at least study it on a remote island - and make the delivery direct?

And increase the risk? for no benefit? it would be pointless.

And if any of crazy researcher try to see what happen after use or push to others?

Like it has happened in all the decades that the lab have been functioning with lethal diseases?

Less movies, more reality.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Agree with the above. Want to know what could go wrong? Have you ever read Stephen King's The Stand? Captain trips coming at you.

That was exactly what popped into my mind when I read the headline. You beat me to it.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Not importing the pathogens will put you at more risk, so the bureacrats should not be trusted to inform the public because it may lead to people that ignore the whole thing and base their knowledge on fictional movies and books to protest and then choose for you the more risky option?

I am not basing my concerns on books or films, I am not engaging in "magical" thinking, I am a person who has concerns about the need to import deadly viruses like Ebola as "protection"

and what the implications are of the Tokyo Olympics as an event that inspires this need.

Ebola in some countries in Africa is not contained, but the WHO is not declaring it a "global emergency".

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/06/who-unexpectedly-declines-again-call-ebola-outbreak-global-emergency

Yet in Japan, this importing of viruses "for protection" is happening:

 It is a major stride toward protection against the potential threats of the viruses as the country prepares to welcome spectators of the sporting event from all over the world, Nemoto told reporters.

I'd really like to know if Japan will ban travelers from Ebola affected countries.

virusrex,

Try being a little less smug, and realize why people have concerns.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I am a person who has concerns about the need to import deadly viruses like Ebola as "protection"

That is the part where it becomes irrational, dozens and dozens of pathogens are imported into Japan every year, many of them absolutely capable of originating deadly outbreaks, and they have been managed without problem until now because it is not that hard and because there are controls over controls to avoid problems (or wasting the pathogens because of accidents) but you are only worried now?

What do you imagine they have been doing in the BSL4 lab all these decades?

and what the implications are of the Tokyo Olympics as an event that inspires this need.

The diseases exist, they can always be transmitted between countries, that is what makes being prepared a need, you cannot be prepared without access to the real pathogen, and very specialized and competed facilities are necessary to work on them safely. Makes no sense to avoid being prepared by some fuzzy irrational fears about nothing concrete, and that suddenly appeared as if deadly pathogens were not being used in dozens and dozens of laboratories all around Japan without problem, even with LESS safety than a BSL4 lab. Olympics only increase the risk, not only on safety but also on security (as in bioterrorism using this very good chance of targeting lots of people from all over the world)

Try being a little less smug, and realize why people have concerns.

The problem is with the concerns being completely illogical, its like the newspapers reporting the government buying a new very dangerous military helicopter and people complaining about the possibility of it being used to kill thousands of people if some soldier left the thing with the keys on while he went to the toiled in a gas station. It simply is not a realistic possibility but people think it is because of books and movies that put these crazy scenarios in the mind of everybody. It is not real.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I hope this is an isolated part of Japan . . . perhaps a remote island . . . far away from where people, and living things live.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

What could possibly go wrong?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I can't understand why do they make research of such kind of deadly virus at the middle of the metropolitan area. What is the relations between virus important and Olympic Games? A sort of excuses? More information please.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

That is the part where it becomes irrational, dozens and dozens of pathogens are imported into Japan every year, many of them absolutely capable of originating deadly outbreaks, and they have been managed without problem until now because it is not that hard and because there are controls over controls to avoid problems (or wasting the pathogens because of accidents) but you are only worried now?

What do you imagine they have been doing in the BSL4 lab all these decades?

TBH, I have been blissfully unaware that this facility even existed, in Western Tokyo, no less.

It's existence is not a widely publicized thing.

The Olympics so far, is a very scary prospect- Extreme heat, over-crowding in an already crowded city, language issues, transportation issues, security, water, limited trash bins in summer...

But none of these things are on the same scale as possible disease exposure.

While I appreciate the govt. saying they are attempting to be "prepared", 

( by importing life-threatening pathogens to study, ) this all seems to me like one straw too many to endure for an international sports event.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's existence is not a widely publicized thing.

It was when created, when adapted as a BSL3, during all the time it provided education and information for the people of the area and when it was decided to again use it for its purpose as a BSL4 laboratory, with notes in the newspapers and everything. (searching for BSL-4 musashimurayama give some of the last 5 years)

The important thing is that being you aware or not the place has been working continuously with lethal pathogens, without ever any incident. Worrying now because just another one join the dozens there makes no real sense.

this all seems to me like one straw too many to endure for an international sports event.

Disease exposure is an inherent risk for any event where people from many countries assist, importing a pathogen to develop measures against it actually reduces this risk. Your complain is like protesting against buying fire extinguishers for a festival because they "may explode and hurt the people". The reason is not logical and ignores the very important role they have reducing real risks.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@virusrex

Nice to read such balanced, well-informed posts. Unusual too!

: )

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The only absolutely sure way to guarantee safety is not to have these pathogens in the country at all.

virusrex's arguments are good, though, and many points are valid. There is a concern here that an Olympic visitor could enter the country with something like Ebola festering inside him/her. In that sense it is better to be prepared. And if you want the world's scientific community to take you seriously, you probably need to grab the bull by the horns.

Jurassic Park was also guaranteed absolutely safe, I believe! ;-)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Don't worry. They're keeping it in a very secure facility next to the ocean with safety systems fairly well protected from tsunami. They've even hired some of TEPCO's top safety managers to oversee it.

Nothing can possibly go worng.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Nothing can possibly go worng.

What do you think could go wrong?

Your hypothetical situation poses absolutely no risk from viral pathogens, even if a wave could go all the way to musashimurayama and swipe the huge building with the BSL4 (at that point Japan would have a problem much more important than any outbreak because it is NOT exactly close to the ocean at all) The end result would be simply samples quickly spoiling because of lack of refrigeration.

Huge economic loses for research going to waste? yes,

Outbreaks? only with magical seawater that could open fridges, drawers, boxes hermetic containers and tubes, get infected and transmit the disease later.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Scientists need access to these very deadly virus and chemical nerve agents to find cures and antidote. Most developed countries have biochemical labs researching on these. I worked in one lab in the 1970's. The people working in those special built labs are very conscious of the seriousness of what they are doing.

There are far worse things than Ebola.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Disease exposure is an inherent risk for any event where people from many countries assist, importing a pathogen to develop measures against it actually reduces this risk.

So, you have to risk lives, to save lives?

Your complain is like protesting against buying fire extinguishers for a festival because they "may explode and hurt the people". The reason is not logical and ignores the very important role they have reducing real risks.

"My complain"?

You are trying to intellectually beat down anyone who has genuine concerns, with the "you're not logical" argument.

But when Ebola virus has to be imported to study, in case of possible contamination due to an international sports event that must be held regardless of any current Ebola travel risks,

logic has left the building.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

So, you have to risk lives, to save lives?

There is no realistic risk to lives, in comparison its much more likely that an outbreak occurs naturally.

The idea that this is in any way risky comes from fiction.

You are trying to intellectually beat down anyone who has genuine concerns, with the "you're not logical" argument.

Not beat down the people but the illogical, irrational and unjustified concerns, they are not logical, not real, so they cannot be the basis for increasing risks, the same as an other irrational fear. You have been unable to prove your concerns are based in anything but ignorance so even if genuine they are still mistaken.

But when Ebola virus has to be imported to study, in case of possible contamination due to an international sports event that must be held regardless of any current Ebola travel risks,

logic has left the building.

No, that makes no sense either. Would you like to also close borders? how about expelling all foreigners of the country? Those things also increase the risk.

And no, international events can obviously be cancelled if there is an active pandemic with international travel being compromised so its not "regardless of any Ebola travel risks". The reality is that at this point the risk is not enough to do such drastic measures, another much more realistic measure to REDUCE the risk is to give access to the viruses to people with the facilities, knowledge and experience to do it safely.

If your concerns can only be calm down by increasing the risk of an outbreak I am very sorry but they should be ignored.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Does anyone else think this is a bad idea like I do?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Brendan, have a quick read of some of the comments.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You are trying to intellectually beat down anyone who has genuine concerns, with the "you're not logical" argument.

Perhaps you're not. Let's find out.

How contagious is Ebola? If someone has Ebola, how many people on average, under current conditions in Africa, can that person be expected to infect?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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