Deadly pathogens repeatedly dispatched by U.S. labs to unsecure sites
The Center for Public Integrity
by R. Jeffrey Smith and Patrick Malone
September 23, 2016
“The government isn’t regulating how highly dangerous viruses and bacteria are rendered safe for shipment, posing risks to the public,” auditors say.
Public, academic and private laboratories that work with deadly diseases have mistakenly transferred highly contagious viruses and bacteria to unsecure locations at least twenty-one times in the past 13 years, a frequency more than double what the officials overseeing such work previously said their data showed, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.
In each case, the scientists and officials involved wrongly concluded that the deadly pathogens had been inactivated and thus were safe to transport elsewhere. One of the incidents, involving mistaken shipments by a Defense Department laboratory of live anthrax bacteria, attracted wide notice in 2015. But the GAO report said key government agencies have been slow to fix managerial and policy lapses that contributed to that event and might provoke additional errors.
No government-wide standards exist for ensuring that pathogens have been inactivated – either by chemicals, radiation, heat or filtration — prior to their shipment via public channels, the GAO report said. No firm requirements exist for reporting mistakes, a circumstance that means the real number of improper shipments could be even greater than 21. And no clear policies have been set on how lapses are to be punished.
The Departments of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, two of the principal oversight agencies, “do not know the extent to which incomplete inactivation occurs and whether incidents are being properly identified, analyzed, and addressed,” the GAO said.
The auditors’ report focused on the government’s Select Agents Program, which regulates the use of bacteria, toxins, and viruses – including anthrax, Ebola, Marburg, and others — that have the capacity to pose a severe threat to humans, livestock, and crops, because the pathogens are deadly and no treatments may be available. As of May, 286 research facilities around the country were enrolled in the program, which allows them to conduct scientific experiments with such pathogens in laboratories outfitted with special gear to ensure the materials cannot leak.
They are all obliged to inactivate the pathogens before removing them from these laboratories, and in fact useful scientific work frequently occurs with inactivated as well as live pathogens. But government oversight of these labs is notoriously weak; in 2013, the GAO called it fragmented and too reliant on self-policing.
In the new report, the auditors lamented that the government is still “without a national strategy” for ensuring that the associated risks are minimized, and also complained that no single person or governmental organization is responsible for fixing problems.
The principal message of the report, which was requested by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and produced in consultation with the National Academy of Science and top biology experts, was that the government as a result lacks accurate knowledge of how often live pathogens have been wrongly circulated and why; it also is generally unaware of how inconsistently the rules have been enforced.
“The potential for public harm is substantial.”
The complete article can be read HERE.
What GAO Found
The total number of incidents involving incomplete inactivation—a process to destroy the hazardous effects of pathogens while retaining characteristics for future use—that occurred from 2003 through 2015 is unknown for several reasons. One key reason is that the Select Agent Program—operated by the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Agriculture (USDA) to oversee certain dangerous pathogens, known as select agents—does not require laboratories to identify such incidents on reporting forms. According to the program, 10 incidents occurred from 2003 through 2015. However, GAO identified an additional 11 incidents that the program did not initially identify. Because the program cannot easily identify incidents involving incomplete inactivation, it does not know the frequency or reason they occur, making it difficult to develop guidance to help mitigate future incidents.
I am in no way surprised at this report. Several reports over the years have been done yet no meaningful corrective measures have apparently been made. In fact, I am more shocked that we have not had several deadly pandemic outbreaks due to mishandling, mislabeling, lost, or stolen vials of deadly bacteria and viruses. The current outbreaks of leprosy in Florida I think could have something to do with some such idiocy since leprosy is relatively unknown in the US.
Several years ago, an article came out about boxes of long forgotten viruses like anthrax having been discovered laying around in an unused old government building. They were only discovered when the building was going through renovation.
“In the Wake of CDC Anthrax Release, Even More Errors Involving Deadly Pathogens Are Discovered” Mercola
“Latest military lab concerns involve plague bacteria, deadly viruses” by Tom Vanden Brook and Alison Young, USA TODAY
“20 Dead, 200 Hospitalized After Reports US Lab “Leaks” Deadly Virus In Ukraine by Tyler Durden ZeroHedge
There has also been in the last year a case where an extremely deadly batch of virus was carelessly shipped between the Midwest and California. The shipment was never handled under extreme care and at the time was unaccounted for in movement. This shipment was done by military personnel if I remember correctly.
In fact given what we know already about the Zika Virus, the latest update by BioBridge Global September 27, 2016 strongly gives me pause to consider that it also has been transported deliberately or carelessly to unknown locations. In that report, cases are being reported in the Philippines, Thailand, Sanofi, St Kitts, Nevis, states across the US. These places have nothing in common and I find hard to believe that some little insect like a mosquito has flown far and wide. This was traced back to a GMO from a very large chemical plant with ties to Soros and others linked to creating a new world order.
Will this idiocy EVER get corrected without a major meltdown across the world?