The second chapter of the Emerging manga continues with the story of providing details about the pathogen. There is a rising tension surrounding this case and everyone seems to be absorbed into doing whatever is necessary to stay uninfected.
Not many horror story elements in this chapter but a sense of a deep, suppressed atmosphere – a critical way of thinking and taking actions. A team gets involved with quarantining the zone where the infected man is kept.
For finding out what kind of virus is involved – a sample is needed – which, after it has been collected – is transferred to the National Infection Research Institute in Tokyo.
This side of the story made me research a bit about these organisms. Apparently viruses are the smallest and simplest life forms known. They are 10 to 100 times smaller than a bacteria. The biggest difference between viruses and bacteria is that viruses must have a living host – like a plant or animal or even a human host – to multiply, while most bacteria can grow on non-living surfaces, attacking whatever they encounter.
Bacteria are inter-cellular organisms (they live in-between cells) – whereas viruses are intra-cellular organisms (they infiltrate the host cell and live inside the cell). They change the host cell’s genetic material from its normal function to producing the virus itself.
As for treatments – simple antibiotics can kill most of the bacteria forms known but they cannot kill viruses.
In the manga – the people involved are afraid to find out that this case might involve a fatal pathogen – which in that case – it could be unsolvable.
After a scene that depicts a panic attack and some of the protagonists almost lose their reason – the sample is successfully retrieved. The second chapter ends with the doctors’ plan of going to the National Infection Research Institute.
In the third chapter – one of those who studied the case – professor Onodera – who happened to touch the corpse before with bare hands without thinking about the repercussions – is depicted as struggling with the idea of getting infected and never having a chance to battle this terrifying microbial enemy. He agrees to accompany another professor – Sekiguchi – to the National Infection Research Institute, for an answer.
There is one particular page in the manga, in this chapter, that quite caught my attention – it depicts a bird-view of some streets in or towards Tokyo and the highway with the car our protagonists are traveling. It has a certain acoustic feeling – you can hear the murmurs of a distant city at night and as you approach – the indistinct groans of the car’s engine.
Once the protagonists reach their destination – a question arises.. what kind of place is this research facility?
Professor Onodera almost has another panic attack when he sees the level of security in this place – when he hears the attention messages telling the staff to not touch anything, not even the walls or the doors. It is a center for disease control – and high level toxicity materials are handled here, and of course – the nastiest pathogens found are kept here.
Apparently – the Institute is only equipped for for the first three levels of biozahard – BL3. If the new pathogen belongs to the higher level – its study must be done overseas – thought that shake up a bit our concerned doctors. Shipping out a deadly virus is not always the best solution.
Regarding the levels of biozahard – the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) categorizes various diseases in levels of biohazard, Level 1 being minimum risk and Level 4 being extreme risk. Laboratories and other facilities are categorized as BSL (Biosafety Level) 1-4 or as P1 through P4 for short (Pathogen or Protection Level).
A biosafety level is a set of biocontainment precautions required to isolate dangerous biological agents in an enclosed laboratory facility. The levels of containment range from the lowest biosafety level 1 (BSL-1) to the highest at level 4 (BSL-4). In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have specified these levels. In the European Union, the same biosafety levels are defined in a directive. In Canada the four levels are known as Containment Levels. Facilities with these designations are also sometimes given as P1 through P4 (for Pathogen or Protection level), as in the term “P3 laboratory”.
At the lowest level of biosafety, precautions may consist of regular hand-washing and minimal protective equipment. At higher biosafety levels, precautions may include airflow systems, multiple containment rooms, sealed containers, positive pressure personnel suits, established protocols for all procedures, extensive personnel training, and high levels of security to control access to the facility.