Preparing for the 2020 Olympics, Japan Imports Ebola Viruses, What is it for?
Japan imported Ebola and four other dangerous viruses to deal with thousands of international tourists visiting Tokyo for the Olympics.
The Japanese Ministry of Health said the researchers used samples that included the Marburg virus, the Lassa virus and the virus that causes dengue in South America and in Crimea-Congo to validate the tests that are being developed.
The development of this test will increase Japan's readiness for events such as bioterror attacks.
These viruses also marked the first time that a biosafety-level-4 (BSL-4) ranking, the most dangerous ranking, was permitted to enter the National Institute of Infectious Disease of Japan (NIID), the only state facility operating at that level.
Infectious disease scientists have indeed said that the risk of an outbreak during the Olympics is not much higher than at other times.
Unfortunately, not everyone is glad about this. Some local residents said that scientists only used the Olympics to import the virus.
Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist and biosecurity specialist at Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey, was agreed.
He said that, the BSL-4 laboratory could be prepared to handle the dangerous outbreaks without the need to bring the virus to Japan first. Storing dangerous viruses, even in a very safe laboratories, increases the risk of virus release, both intentional and unintentional. (*)
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