security

Lack of security at labs handling world's deadliest pathogens could lead to epic pandemic

Monday, February 20, 2012 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: bioweapons, laboratories, pandemic

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Delicious
(NaturalNews) The mainstream media appears to be priming the public consciousness once again for the inevitable release of a highly-deadly pathogen in the very near future. A recent Reuters report explains that many of the world's biosafety level-3 (BSL-3) and biosafety level-4 (BSL-4) laboratories, which house some of the deadliest pathogens in existence, may not be as safe and secure as people think they are because federal regulations technically require nothing more than a single locked door at such facilities as a security measure.

According to the report, some labs voluntarily employ rigorous safety and security measures, including the Galveston National Laboratory in Texas, which is a highly-protected complex with at least eight levels of secured entry, closed-circuit video monitoring, and negative air flow and dedicated exhaust systems to prevent the accidental release of deadly pathogens. But many other such labs do not have this same tight level of a security, as federal law does not regulate the safety protocols used by private research labs.

"Galveston's strict security underlines a little-known fact about hundreds of labs working with bacteria and viruses that could make the 1918-19 Spanish flue epidemic -- when as many as 40 million people died -- seem like a summer cold," says the report. "Many of the precautions it takes are not required by law."

Will the militarized H5N1 avian flu strain be 'accidentally' released from an unsecured BSL facility?

The report conveniently comes just a few months after it was first announced that scientists in Europe had deliberately created a weaponized H5N1 avian bird flu strain capable of spreading between humans (http://www.naturalnews.com/034228_bioterrorism_flu_strain.html). And since that announcement, there has been a lot of chatter about whether or not the results of this creation should be published in scientific journals, and what the likelihood is that this vicious strain will someday get released into the wild where it could kill off populations around the world at pandemic levels.

The stage is being set, in other words, for the "accidental" release of one of these pathogens at some point in the future, upon which there will be a host of scapegoats to blame. And since all this private research being conducted on deadly viral and bacterial strains at private BSL-3 and BSL-4 labs around the world is apparently not much of a security concern to the federal government, it appears that it is only a matter of time before something catastrophic occurs.

There are also few specifics on the types of research that must be conducted in BSL-4 labs versus BSL-3 labs, which means that the deadly new H5N1 mutant strain can technically be conducted at either, even though BSL-3 labs are intended for less-serious bacterial and viral strains. This is highly concerning because, according to a 2009 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, there were 400 accidents at BSL-3 labs just in the U.S. alone that year.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.reuters.com

http://www.nature.com

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