On May 5th, Konan Michel Yao was arrested for smuggling vials from a Canadian ebola research center into the United States. However, Mr. Yao wasn't a terrorist attempting to commit a biological weapon attack. Instead, Mr. Yao was a government scientist, en route to his new job studying biodefense at the National Institutes of Health. Additionally, he didn't even have any ebola in his possession.
Mr. Yao freely admits that he stole the vials from his old lab. The U.S. border patrol has arrested him for smuggling, and claim that he should have known he needed a permit to carry the material across the border. This case has raised questions about both the security of the lab that Mr. Yao previously worked at, and about U.S. border security in general.
According to all sources, Mr. Yao was bringing 22 vials of viral vector, a research tool, not an actual virus, from his old job researching a vaccine for ebola at the Public Health Agency of Canada. ERV, a virus researcher and science blogger, has a plausible explanation for the whole situation: Yao "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."
Nature News has the most up-to-date coverage of the story (or late-to-the-game coverage, depending on your perspective), while Breitbart has the earliest. They also have this video explaining some of the fallout from the arrest.
I'm keeping an eye on this story, which is extremely susceptible -- smuggling! deadly viruses! -- to media spin.
"I'm keeping an eye on this story, which is extremely susceptible -- smuggling! deadly viruses! -- to media spin."
Ya know, you may want to reexamine your title if you are worried about potential spin :P, i mean, come on.
e.a.greenhalgh The issue here is judgement. England a virus escaped from a safe government lab causing great harm to the farmers. A super TB bug walked out of a US CDC lab and flew all around the world.I have been blacklisted because I warned this would happen over 20 years ago causing the proposed Toronto lab not to be built while the Winnipeg lab went ahead : see www.cancerfraudbadbiotech.com the very early section 2003. See how a former US Surgeon General has regretted my treatment and Noam Chomsky has said my research may be of phenomenal importance to mankind; plus others have also commented positively on my theories and ethics stand. The big point is the researcher lied because he believed he was more important than safety protocols or ethics. What is wrong with couriers? Government couriers? what happens, if in the future, an ethics committee deems his work unsafe but he believes he knows better? He is working with dangerous materials and COULD cause great harm. The point comes down to just what is HIS sworn word worth? what is the integrity of ANY institution he may work for? Like a bullet once fired from a gun and people die, saying "oops , I'm sorry ,"isn't good enough.The main point of this story is the VALUE OF SIGNED ASSURANCES and how much the taxpayers' should expect them to be worth if someone is to be given the PRIVILEGE of working in such a potentially dangerous field. That is the point of the story.