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The Army biowarfare lab that tests pathogens like Ebola and the plague failed a safety inspection
Research at an Army lab that tests infectious diseases like the Ebola virus has been temporarily shut down after a federal agency found safety concerns within the facility, so that's exciting to think about.
Research conducted by the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) was halted after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the lab "failed to meet biosafety standards," as first reported by The Frederick News-Post.
The research that has been suspended involves "select agents," the New York Times reports, including the plague, Ebola, smallpox, and other pathogens the government has found to have "the potential to pose a severe threat to public, animal or plant health or to animal or plant products."
The CDC inspected the military research institute in June and found "several areas of concern in standard operating procedures, which are in place to protect workers in biosafety level 3 and 4 laboratories," USAMRIID spokeswoman Caree Vander Linden told the News-Post.
According to the CDC, things studied in a biosafety level 3 lab "can be either indigenous or exotic, and they can cause serious or potentially lethal disease through respiratory transmission."
Biosafety level 4, on the other hand, is the "highest level of biological safety," per the CDC, handling agents which pose the highest risk of infection that is "frequently fatal." At USAMRIID, researchers were working on the Ebola virus in the biosafety level 4 lab.
The CDC found that at the lab lacked periodic recertification training for personnel who worked in the biocontainment laboratories. In addition, there was a "failure to follow local procedures" and a wastewater decontamination system deemed below standards, the News-Post reported.
When the lab received its cease and desist letter in July, researchers were working on agents that cause a rare infectious disease, tularemia, as well as Venezuelan equine encephalitis, per the News-Post.
Oh, and also the plague.
Fortunately, Vander Linden told the Times that while the CDC found leaks, they were inside the lab, meaning that no pathogens has escaped the lab into the outside world.
Employees of the lab are still working on some other projects, according to the Times, just not on those "select agents."
"USAMRIID will return to fully operational status upon meeting benchmark requirements for biosafety," Vander Linden told the News-Post. "We will resume operations when the Army and the CDC are satisfied that USAMRIID can safely and consistently meet all standards."
USAMRIID has not yet responded to additional inquiries from Task & Purpose, but as of now it seems unlikely that society as we know it will be brought to its knees by a pathogen somehow freed from its laboratory prison.
Enjoy your weekend!
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Department of Defense has released some information on its revamped approach to vetting and security concerns for foreign military students in the United States.
Some initial information came Friday, a few days before Secretary of Defense Mark Esper's visit to Naval Air Station Pensacola to discuss new vetting and security procedures with installation leadership.
The DoD began its review of those procedures following the Dec. 6 shooting at NAS Pensacola that left three people dead and eight others injured. The gunman, 21-year-old Saudi lieutenant Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a flight student, was fatally shot by an Escambia County sheriff's deputy.
In a Galaxy — err, I mean, on a military base far, far away, soldiers are standing in solidarity with galactic freedom fighters.
Sitting at the top of an Army press release from March 2019, regarding the East Africa Response Force's deployment to Gabon, the photo seems, at first glance, just like any other: Soldiers on the move.
But if you look closer at the top right, you'll find something spectacular: A Rebel Alliance flag.
Three sailors from the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower have been charged in connection with the Dec. 17 brawl at a holiday party in Norfolk, Virginia, that was caught on video.
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U.S. disarmament ambassador Robert Wood dismissed the reward as "ridiculous", telling reporters in Geneva it showed the "terrorist underpinnings" of Iran's establishment.
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The report in the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper said the two Russians were checked by Swiss police in August last year in the ski resort, which is hosting the WEF gathering of the global business and political elite this week. The pair presented diplomatic passports and left the country, the paper said.