Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"... over 1,200 people acquired infections from BSL-4 labs"

How secure are labs handling world's deadliest pathogens?
By Sharon Begley and Julie Steenhuysen
NEW YORK/CHICAGO | Wed Feb 15, 2012
Reuters

.... "We are now in a proliferation race for BSL-3 and 4 labs," said Laurie Garrett, the senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. "Having such a facility is a mark of national sophistication. But the spread of these labs allows the unfettered proliferation of the world's most dangerous microbes."

Indeed, deadly microbes have escaped high-security labs. Between 1978 and 1999, just over 1,200 people acquired infections from BSL-4 labs around the world; 22 were fatal. Since then, lab workers have been killed by Ebola and SARS, or severe acquired respiratory syndrome. Thieves tried to steal animal pathogens from an Indonesian lab in 2007, the NRC workshop was told.

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