Perry tours UTMB biosafety lab, says he opposes banning flights from West Africa

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GALVESTON, Tx. -– One day after Gov. Perry named Galveston National Laboratory director James LeDuc to the new state task force on infectious disease readiness and response, the governor was at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston to tour the lab with LeDuc and UTMB bigwigs.

The facility is the only biosafety level 4 lab housed on a university campus, tasked with studying infectious diseases and finding their cures.

“Our best defense against a pandemic is knowledge, and our best chance to minimize and control an outbreak will come from facilities just like this one that we’re in,” Perry said.

US officials are thinking about new screenings at airports by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for arriving passengers.

And some lawmakers want the US to halt all flight into this country from the West African nations hit with Ebola.

Gov. Perry likes screening, but is not in favor of the ban. “I would suggest that an argument has been made that a banning flights from those places will make healthcare providers, healthcare experts, less likely to go into those, because then they can’t come back.”

About 74 miles northwest of UTMB is North Cypress Medical Center in Cypress, and that’s where doctors had been watching an unidentified man, admitted early Monday.

Turns out, he didn’t have Ebola, so they let him go.

And about 250 miles north of cypress is Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas where doctors are giving Thomas Duncan the experimental Ebola drug brincidofovir. He’s the first human to get the drug,

And you can bet there are a lot of people who hope it works.