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Outbreak (again)

Bruce Micales bmicales at facstaff.wisc.edu
Tue Mar 21 22:30:04 EST 1995

In article <3kli67$d4m at data.interserv.net> hracette at interserv.com writes:

>Could be.  Then again, I think most reasonably bright people recognize that the
>things they see at the movies are fiction.  I don't quite 
>understand the reaction this movie is generating in the scientific community. 
>Fiction is fiction, and most of us--even if we're 
>"non-scientific"--understand that.
I am not a virologist, but I am a lab tech that was worked with bacterial 
pathogens (ok maybe not has bad as HIV or others..but dead is dead).

Let me share my feeling on the movie "Outbreak"

1) Why were the different biosafety levels located so close to each other.  To 
me this seems like an accident waiting to happen..why not on different floors 
or at least with separate airlocks.

2) Why were there MPs sitting outside of the biosafely level 4 dressed in 
nothing else but a MP uniform!?

3) The lab tech reaching into a SPINNING centrifuge with blood samples without 
even looking!  It is bad enough that he opened the centrifuge while it was 
spinning (were are the safety interlocks that most modern centrifuges have 
these days), but he makes it even worse (if possible) by not even watching 
were his hand is being placed.

4) How were they able to synthesize the antisera so quickly and in such a 
large volume?  Did they use a protein synthesizer?  If so, would not the final 
product be colorless and clear?

5) The helicopters used by the actors came from with in the town.  Is there 
not a chance they could be spreading the virus over a larger area by using 
these helicopters (they were not treated in any manner that I am aware).

There are many other problems with this movie that people involved with either 
viral studies and/or the military have posed.  These are just basic concerns 
that make the fabric of the movie a bit weaker.  In addition, they "paint" a 
very poor picture of doctors (MD and PhD) and lab techs.  This is one reason 
why this movie (although good entainment..just leave reality at the door) has 
prompted a reaction from the scientific community.

If I have left out any points of contention (which I am sure I have) please 
forgive me and you have my apologies.   

Bruce Micales

Bruce Micales
bmicales at facstaff.wisc.edu
Department of Anatomy
Amateur Radio : WA2DEU

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