Emergency laws for scientific research

Initial bioweapons list includes 40 candidates, labs are upgraded to fortresses

Senator edward kennedy is introducing a list of 40 "dangerous" substances to the u.S. Congress to strictly regulate their use. The list includes 13 viruses or groups of viruses, 9 strains of bacteria, 3 groups of rickettsiae, one fungus and 12 toxins, according to a report in science.

An informal consortium of 34 countries, called the australia group, also counts cholera and salmonella among the pathogens that should no longer be handled freely. Nato, in turn, has drawn up its own list: here, dengue fever and, get this, the influenza virus are considered to be the rubbish that has to be locked away in the armored cabinet. The flu viruses that regularly afflict us are not on the list because they are deadly, but because they can make whole armies ill.

Of course, all american friends in the war against bioterrorism should support the american list. Probably even a compromise will be found. It will result in the list of candidates being extended to include the wishes of the other lobbyists. Thus, the spectrum ranges from exotic pathogens to well known viruses that have been used in previous wars, often to the detriment of the users. If the flu virus targeted by nato is included in the group of dangerous substances, there will be no limits for future lists. The list of dangerous substances will become longer and longer. The candidates that have been identified so far are only intended as a start, because in the short time since september 11.September, it has not been possible to assess all the critters and all the risks.

The workplaces of microbiologists, i.E. Those researchers who professionally deal with bacteria, viruses and fungi, are not only regulated, but turned into fortresses. Doors and windows will be secured, workplaces will be monitored by video cameras, the use of ubeltates cultivated in the laboratory will be registered and their deaths recorded. In order to prevent the invisible contemporaries from being brought over unnoticed, further control instruments up to body searches are unavoidable.

The tacit willingness with which emergency laws are extended to the natural environment is surprising. On closer examination, the american hysteria cements restrictions that declare the field of work of microbiologists to be a military security complex. Free scientific research is thus prevented. It is not the security arrangements that are the limitation, but the list of candidates, which are compiled by politicians and military experts from a considerably restricted point of view. In the underdeveloped countries, 9 out of 10 diseases are considered to be infectious. Their research and treatment will be significantly affected by the emergency laws, because the specialists’ hands will be tied by prohibitions.

For the microbiologists, it is to be hoped that the natural influenza viruses can be distinguished by a spot of color or a ribbon from those examined in the laboratory. After all, these little animals are still said to exist in the wild, and not all influenza viruses are motivated by terrorists yet.

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