'The Hot Zone' tracks Ebola virus in the 80s, but actor Lenny Platt says it's still relevant as the disease 'never goes away'

'The Hot Zone' tracks Ebola virus in the 80s, but actor Lenny Platt says it's still relevant as the disease 'never goes away'

National Geographic is about to bring the true story of the deadly Ebla virus, tracking its outbreak from Africa to it's arrival on the Americal soil in 1989. But even if that might sound like a thing of the past, the show - titled 'The Hot Zone' - is about to establish just how real and how relevant the disease still is in the contemporary world. In that, even though the miniseries is set in the 80s, it is going to hit home harder than fans would be expecting.

Revolving around the character of Dr. Nancy Jaax from Richard Preston's eponymous book that the show is based on, the story does a brilliant job of tracking the true incident behind how the vicious Ebola virus found its way from the African rainforest to the American soil. And while Julianna Margulies turns a new leaf from the good wife to the good doctor as the protagonist, the show's engaging recount of the haunting incident will certainly manage to captivate viewers.


A scene from 'The Hot Zone.' Source: National Geographic


Dr. Jaax's character is a heroic US Army scientist working with a secret military specialized team to unravel the mystery behind the Ebola outbreak. And even as she puts her life on the line to head off the outbreak before it spreads to the human population, it is the risk quotient associated with the story's plot that will prove to be the biggest appeal.

As actor Lenny Platt - who plays the role of Captain Kyle Orman on the show - said in an exclusive chat with MEA WorldWide, "Aside from the amazing cast and crew attached, 'The Hot Zone' is also a frighteningly timely story. I had no idea it had hit this close to home. It’s currently devastating the Congo and is a real threat to our species, so it seemed to me like an important story to be a part of telling."


But as dark and gritty as the plot might seem, the show also carries a personal tone of comic relief which benefits it immensely. And along with that, it also teaches several life saving tips to avoid the disease and which could prove to be a boon for mankind in years to come.

As one of his biggest takeaways from the show, Platt warns that the biggest key to combat a deadly epidemic like Ebola is to "never touch your face. I learned from the real pathologists that were consulting on the show that this is the easiest way to get sick. These scientists who deal with these filoviruses rarely get the flu, and one big part of that is because they never touch their face."

Juliana Margulies (R) as Dr. Nancy Jaax, in a scene from 'The Hot Zone'. Source: Nat Geo


And as dramatic as the thrilling storyline might sound, 'The Hot Zone' also serves as a stern reminder of how real scientific theories revolving around the disease is. "The world isn't flat and vaccines save lives. Medicine and science and need to be supported and funded because they are the only line of defense when it comes to a potential species ending event like a global Ebola pandemic."


The reason why a show like 'The Hot Zone' is still immensely significant in times much later than Ebola's outbreak is how the deadly disease "never goes away," revealed Platt. "It just learns and evolves into a new more dangerous strain. If we don’t continue to support the research and funding for medical intervention in places like the Congo, it could be catastrophic."

'The Hot Zone' premieres on Monday, May 27, at 9 pm, only on National Geographic.

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