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Pandemic chapter 5

Pandemic chapter 5
ANTONIA HARDY: Look, I did it for Mendona. I did it for my country.
ALEX PAPOULIAS: A few thousand people from your country are dead.
ANTONIA HARDY: People die all the time. I created the vaccine.
ALEX PAPOULIAS: You created the disease.
ANTONIA HARDY: I saved millions. I will be remembered. [KNOCKING AT DOOR]
JIM BROWN: Alex, can I see you for a second?
You have to let her go.
ALEX PAPOULIAS: What? She’s admitted to everything. She wanted to be famous. Narcissistic, opport– she’s a psychopath.
JIM BROWN: Yeah, I’m not saying anything different. But there’s not going to be a trial.
ALEX PAPOULIAS: No, I don’t–I don’t–
JIM BROWN: You have to let her go. I’m sorry, Alex. If it makes you feel any better, she’ll be monitored for the rest of her life. She won’t be able to so much as even look at another test tube.
You did a good job.
REPORTER: (ON TV) Dr. Hardy has said the recent outbreak has made her realise how important family is, and how easily the things we love can be taken away. Hardy’s team discovered the vaccine late last night. I shudder to think what could have been if they hadn’t. Channel 22 News would like to wish Dr Hardy all the best.
MARA TSONI: You know you can switch it off with the remote.
ALEX PAPOULIAS: How are you?
ALEX PAPOULIAS: Did you hear what happened?
ALEX PAPOULIAS: Yeah, Hardy’s been lauded as a hero. It’s exactly what she wanted.
MARA TSONI: Well, the government was too invested in her work. They had to lie.
ALEX PAPOULIAS: Yeah. If the government told the truth, how could anybody trust them?
MARA TSONI: Anyway, I just wanted to stop by and say good work. It’s a shame it took an emergency to get us working together.
ALEX PAPOULIAS: Off the record.
MARA TSONI: It’s always off the record. I’ve got to go.
ALEX PAPOULIAS: How’s everything going– at the department?
MARA TSONI: Administering the vaccine, counting the dead. I’m still technically on sick leave.
ALEX PAPOULIAS: We should grab a coffee, catch up.
MARA TSONI: Hmm, we’ll see.
In this video, respected Professor Antonia Hardy, who was one of the few people who could develop a vaccine against the new virus, is interviewed by the policeman Alex Papoulia. Professor Hardy admits that she engineered the virus in a clandestine laboratory so that she could become famous for developing a vaccine against it through her formal university research activity. It becomes clear that she did it to achieve fame and respect for developing the vaccine, but was comfortable with killing thousands of people in the process.
A twist is that Hardy is released from police custody, suggesting that she has friends in high places, although she is made to retire from her job. This frustrates Alex but there’s nothing he can do about it. At least he solved the mystery of where the disease came from and can get some satisfaction from that. The health department official, Sharri Patel, points out that one benefit of the pandemic emergency was that it led to cooperation and consultation between the health department and the police, which usually does not happen.
An issue highlighted in this video are the human motivations that can lead to criminal behaviour, even by respected persons. Another is that it often takes an emergency to have multi-agency cooperation. Prevention of, and preparedness for, these emergencies require ongoing cooperation and consultation at all times, not just in a crisis.
After watching this chapter of Pandemic, please discuss the following questions in the comments section below
  • What other factors might motivate people to engineer pathogens that could cause dangerous outbreaks?
  • Which organisations would be stakeholders in the management of a bioterrorism event?
  • Do you think the health care system in your country would be prepared for a bioterrorism attack?
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Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Public Health Dimensions

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