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ALCOBA, Louise Nicole R.

August 23, 2013

2012-29566

BS-BIOLOGY

REACTION PAPER

Tick, tock, tick, tock. . . Seconds go by and time passes by as an unknown disease spreads itself
among the human race. Days are being counted as the number of those infected is being monitored. That
is how preceding frames were plotted and what the film Contagion mainly made the audience see.

Contagion by Steven Soderbergh is one realistic film which had strong foundations set upon
scientific methods and within the world of biotechnology. The setting of the film made it flagged as a
thriller movie. The aura frightened people on who would be the next victim of the global epidemic, how
much of the global population would be deceased and how much extent of damage the unknown virus
would further bring.

The movie has been informative for it showed how a certain epidemic is being cured, from the
process of tracing its source, coding the virus DNA sequence and up to the process of creating the
vaccine (though not in much detail). The film has also opened the eyes of normal people on how
important coding of DNA, the coding done by a doctor- researcher of the Center for Disease Control, for
thorough studying of the virus which would then lead to its vaccine creation. Moreover, though not
emphasized, we can see the great use of Polymerase Chain Reaction, for the center was able to replicate
the DNA in a short time.

We can also commend the film for it has been of great help for the understanding of the layman
regarding epidemics and since once in a while we are facing such i.e the swine flu alarm, H1N1 problem
etc. Moreover, the use of the perspectives of different men from various places-from Hong Kong to
Minneapolis- is appreciable since it made the understanding of the plot easier, and made the audience
have sympathy for the families of those infected.

However, there seems to be something questionable within the story. A big number of Rhesus
monkeys have been used to test the effectiveness of the various vaccines produced by the CDC and all of
those used have died. This manipulation of life in order to save another can be questioned under ethics
governing biotechnology. Though, this is something I could not put a verdict on, it just seems vague and
is questionable as one may see it within the film.

But, whats important is that the whole of the film itself had made people realize that the use of
technology on the biological matters can save lives and make the future better. It only depends upon the
human race on how we would use the resources we have and biotechnology itself, whether we would be
as greedy as those who are in the high positions in the government as in the film who put their selves first
before others on the dissemination of the vaccine or we would choose to be like Dr. Cheever who gave his
vaccine to those who really need it. Correct and just utilization of biotechnology (in the form of vaccine
in the story) can save millions of lives or even the whole world.