Oh for Petes sake.
During a moment of weakness, I clicked on a HuffPo link on “Swine Flu Could Have Come From-Bio Experiment Lab, Researcher Claims” to see what kind of dip-shit comments were getting posted.
The comments were what I expected, plus an unexpected gem:
Something interesting, not escaping but being given a hand out of the lab! Hope Huffpo follows this one and keeps us updated.
Scientist arrested for smuggling vials used in Ebola research into US
‘Vials used in Ebola research’? What an entirely meaningless phrase. I use ‘vials used in Ebola research’, as most labs use the same products from the same suppliers. Do they mean vials containing Ebola?
Dr. Frank Plummer, scientific director general of the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, said the vials did not contain any infectious pathogens.
“At no time was the health of citizens of Canada or the U.S. at risk, as the seized materials are known to be non-infectious,” he said.
So what probably happened– post-doc left the lab Jan 21st. Wanted to get a head start on his research in his new lab, so instead of mailing himself his own plasmids to his new lab, he threw them in his suitcase and went about his business.
When he crossed the border, border patrol searched his suitcase and found vials of ebola protein expression vectors (not an infectious molecular clone, like what I work with– just an expression vector. a plasmid that just makes one or two viral proteins, thats it). Border patrol had no idea what that means, but they know what ‘ebola’ means, so they freak-out.
So now dude is in prison and everyones all hysterical, even though there was absolutely nothing to fear from a damn expression vector. We mail these things to each other (regular mail!) all the damn time. He just should have filled out a damn materials transfer sheet, but he thought ‘Meh, stupid paperwork. Forget it.’
I hope this post gets in the news cycle before all the hysterical ones start popping up…