“So we’re just gonna go in a freezer,” says Tulio de Oliveira.

We’re at the institute that he directs, the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation at Stellenbosch University near Cape Town, South Africa. And he’s taking me to a cold storage room chilled to 20 degrees below freezing.

He calls over his deputy, Yeshnee Naidoo, to lead the way.

“This is the lab queen,” jokes de Oliveira. Because she’s in charge of lab operations.

Naidoo pulls hard on the freezer door.

“You need muscle here,” she says with a grunt.

Naidoo and de Oliveira want to point out an important delivery that’s just arrived.

It’s a plastic box containing 300 samples extracted from cerebrospinal fluid taken from patients a continent away.

“Very close to the Amazon Forest in Colombia,” says de Oliveira.

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