Monday, December 14, 2009
BSL-3 Labs "Multiplying Like Rabbits"
About a month ago, Barton Kunstler published "Biolabs Multiplying Like Rabbits: A Clear and Present Danger" on The Huffington Post. It's worth reading, but I wish he had included some links or had better identified sources for some of his observations.
In any case, his fundamental point, best stated in the title of his article, caught my eye. Some quick on-line reseach yielded the data I have graphed above. It appears that Kuntsler is correct.
My data comes from the NIH RePORTER database, the on-line tool that has replaced CRISP. In some ways it isn't as good as the old system, in some ways better. I searched using the term "bsl-3" and recorded the results as far back as the new system goes. (The CRISP went back a decade earlier. There has been a significant loss of historical data that was once available to the public, but that's another matter.)
This graph doesn't begin to tell the full story however. For instance, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, there are at least a few of these labs, [and here] and the university wants to build more. In their funding request to the NIH, they explained that they wanted another of these labs because it would give them better opportunity to attract more research funding. This was a rare case of honesty.
It's just a matter of time before some horrible accident(s) occurs.
BSL-3s are Hazardous to Your Health
UW-Madison: Bumbling Oafs or Big Fat Liars?
at 2:08 PM