THE DEATH PROTOCOL: WHAT IF MICROBES BREAK OUT THE LAB?

OUR OWN ESCAPE ROOM

“A virus can change the fate of the world; power has nothing to do with being tiny or giant! Power is something related to the power hidden within you!”
Mehmet Murat Ildan

 

Do you know why I love viruses? Because they show us that power has nothing to do with you size or importance but with your capacity to change the star constellation, the destiny of the world. If we think of microbes, we must think of them as about parallel, dark kings of the human lives.  They follow us for centuries and they are never too tired to give up on messing up with us. Why? I believe that their role is to limit the mankind, to remind the people that they can’t play Gods, even in their own comfort zone. The molecular sharks are faster, stronger and more devoted than any single human being. Their will to survive is the code of their success and our final end.

No matter what we do or how we live, the possibility to catch some bug or even superbug is very real. I think the borders between our two universes are so tiny, almost invisible as microbes. We conquered the beautiful nature to feed our greed, we have killed the amazing wildlife to satisfy our wrong needs, we do everything what it shouldn’t be done and I think that Earth is planning the revenge. The sweet, long and unstoppable revenge. The karma is not always a good friend, even if you don’t believe in such a cosmic kind of justice.  Somehow, we have deserved to be eliminated by stealth enemies. Why? Due to our ignorant and arrogant behaviour, driven with interests, shallowed motives and lucrative thoughts. It will come a day when the superbug will sign the last chapter of our civilisation, only because we have developed it.

I am not elaborating about the biological terrorism in spite of fact that I share the opinion that microbes will be used and abused in some of the future asymmetric conflicts between states and individuals or secret groups.  The biological war is happening everyday, even if we don’t hear about it. The secret laboratories are working hard on studying the right pathogens, the nature and the destruction ability of them. The deadliest will be the praised into the military industry as the weapon of new age, superbug with a  full killing potential. The powerful governments  can create the biological incidents and turn them to be described as new and emerging infectious diseases in some part of the world, pinned on their  geo strategic map. There where is a pandemic, it could be a trigger for bio terrorist attack or even warfare. The microbes are sometimes seen as hungry, wild desert dogs. When you call them, they will come to you but you need to feed them before they eat you up.

The one  and big concern is what if some of those stealthy and deadly bugs breaks the rules and escape the lab? The fear is so real because the humans aren’t free from mistakes.  There could be top scientists with the best references but they could be tired, exhausted, under the burden of private problems or simply not careful on that day and the catastrophe is on the rise. The germ is outside, ready to fly around and enjoy the hunt. I am sure that all modern laboratories have the perfect biohazard infrastructure and equipment but that doesn’t mean they can not operate with the errors.  Back in 1978, something like that happened in Birmingham, in the United Kingdom, with the illness of Janet Parker, the photographer at Birmingham Medical School. The poor woman was suddenly sick but the doctors believed it is just a chicken pox. Who would ever think that smallpox is possible when it has been erased from the world ? At least, that was the official story. Since she hasn’t been properly cured, Mrs Parker died and the final diagnosis was shocking: smallpox, the same that doesn’t exist anymore.  The epidemiologists have tried to solve the puzzle and that has lead them to the research laboratory that has been located in the same building. The main focus of that laboratory was smallpox virus and its attributes but the biohazard measures haven’t been respected and followed by workers. It seemed that laboratory has suffered from lack of good and qualified management. At the end, the head of that laboratory died by suicide after the photographer experienced the smallpox disease.  The investigation shown that the particles of the sinister virus have somehow escaped the quarantine level and came out to the modern world, enhanced and fresh. It was a fast and effective fight of all authorities to locate the problem and to close the possibility for virus to get outside the facility, with its freedom to deliver the death. According to writings at that time, it was more luck as KNOW-HOW to stop the bug ripping off the human race.

It is interesting that such a kind of escape could happen everywhere and to everyone. No-one is spared:”Reviewing the incidents, it looks like there are many different points of failure — machinery that’s part of the containment process malfunctions; regulations aren’t sufficient or aren’t followed. Human error means live viruses are handled instead of dead ones.Sometimes, these errors could be deadly. `If an enhanced novel strain of flu escaped from a laboratory and then went on to cause a pandemic, then causing millions of deaths is a serious risk,`Marc Lipsitch, a professor of epidemiology at Harvard, told me.It’s not that there’s a high rate of mistakes in these labs; the rate of mistakes is actually quite low. But it’s one thing to run a one-in-thousands chance of killing a handful of others from a mistake — the odds we face over a lifetime of driving. It’s another thing entirely to accept a similar probability of killing millions of people.”

The problem is that there are many laboratories officially allowed to do their research. Some of them follow the given regulations and they never make an excuses while some other, as always in life, have the options to be off the road. Those off-road laboratories are mostly those who cause an error and let the bug outside. They don’t do that on purpose but their handling techniques and epidemiological standards could indicate the fatal end. There are specific standards of biohazard work and laboratory process. If only one  in that chain is doing wrong, the whole epidemic structure is endangered and the new biological chaos is going to be born. What is a solution? The struct biosafety policy and the regular monitoring of laboratories and their strategies. I think that it is up to state to organise the rules and to check if someone is not following them and if is able to cause the risk for all.

We must not forget that those laboratories work for the governments and in their projects to create the perfect weapon that will be effective against the enemy. They learn how to kill the virus but also how to make the virus even deadlier.  They change the genetic architecture of the pathogen, implant the new skills and reshape the old. When such laboratory beast make an escape, there will be no free room for us. All sanctuaries will be lost.

 

 

2 thoughts on “THE DEATH PROTOCOL: WHAT IF MICROBES BREAK OUT THE LAB?

  1. Sarah’s informative and relative article reminded me of the omnipresent and omnipotent presence of microorganisms across the surface of the Earth and within the planet’s atmospheres.

    In Science, microorganisms are essential resources in biotechnology, biochemistry, genetics and molecular microbiology, among other fields.

    The yeasts ‘Saccharomyces cerevisiae’ and ‘Schizosaccharomyces pombe’ are intrinsic model microorganisms in scientific research: they are primitive eukaryotes that can be cultivated rapidly and in large numbers and are easily-manipulated. In particular, they are applied to the fields of genetics, genomics and proteomics.

    In the context of agriculture, microbes create nutrients and minerals in soil made available to plants that produce hormones that spur growth, stimulate the immune system of plants and trigger stress responses in the plants: the more diverse the soil microbes are, the fewer plant diseases emerge and higher yields occur.

    Microorganisms are used to produce many commercial and industrial chemicals, enzymes and other bioactive molecules. Organic acids produced on a large industrial scale by microbial fermentation include acetic acid produced by acetic acid bacteria.

    Presently, ecologists and biochemists are researching the use of algae to produce liquid fuels and bacteria to convert various forms of agricultural and urban waste into viable fuels.

    Concerning water treatment, this depends upon the ability of microorganisms being applied to water contaminated by organic material: microorganisms can respire dissolved substances.

    Microorganisms are used in food production, also. For example, in fermentation processes to create dairy products and alcohol.

    The natural spheres of the planet predominate bacteria, and the human world has manifested its own concoction of synthetic bacteria. The mathematical possibilities of a catastrophe are high, outside of the realm of scientific laboratories.

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  2. Another educational article, Sarah !

    Humans have to learn from past mistakes, otherwise, a cataclysmic disease may be upon us, should any lab-enhanced virus escape the laboratories !

    The germane problem is one of ethics in that humans are tampering with nature in so many ways, not the least of which is the fact that they are producing artificial and mutated versions of existing viruses in order to use them in military warfare !

    Were humans not to learn before it’s too late, humanity may pay the ultimate price with its existence !

    Thank you, Sarah, for your profound perspective and for shedding light on such a critical subject !

    Like

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About Sarahowlgirl1982

I am a master of Political Sciences, with special focus on Security Studies, Islamic Counter Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction. I enjoy discovering and commenting things which are " in the air" but still not spoken.I also do like science writing and planing to move myself into the pure science journalism !