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Archive for September 4th, 2015

* USA TODAY: IMMEDIATE FREEZE ordered on operations at nine biodefense laboratories

Posted by DXer on September 4, 2015

Pentagon finds more safety issues at labs
Tom Vanden Brook and Alison Young, USA TODAY 4:19 p.m. EDT September 3, 2015

The discovery of live anthrax outside a containment area at a military lab in Utah has prompted military officials to order an immediate freeze on operations at nine biodefense laboratories that work with dangerous viruses, toxins and bacteria, the Pentagon announced Thursday.

The moratorium, first reported by USA TODAY, comes after officials took a detailed look at policies and procedures at the labs and found them wanting, according to Defense officials.


Dugway officials, in testing surfaces in their laboratories, detected anthrax bacteria on the floors of two rooms where staff had worked with the deadly pathogen.  “If proper biosafety procedures had been followed, these surfaces should have been free of the agent,” the CDC said in a statement in response to questions from USA TODAY.  “Following the suspension, the Department of Defense has begun an immediate safety review at all DoD labs and facilities involved in production, shipment, and handling of live and inactivated select agents and toxins.”


The review calls for the military labs to ensure that personnel are properly trained on lab safety procedures and that necessary maintenance is conducted on biosafety level 3 lab facilities that work with some of the most dangerous pathogens. It also calls for validating record-keeping and inventories of the military’s “Critical Reagents Program” — including “ensuring that all materials associated with the CRP are properly accounted for.”


The memo calls for several of the labs to cease production and handling of any materials associated with the Critical Reagents Program.

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