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A transmission electron microscopic image of a tissue section containing variola virus particles, the pathogen responsible for causing smallpox in humans
Opinion: Destroy All Samples of the Smallpox Virus
With a global alarm ringing because of an unprecedented outbreak of monkeypox, we should also consider a different but closely related viral threat.
Opinion: Destroy All Samples of the Smallpox Virus
Opinion: Destroy All Samples of the Smallpox Virus

With a global alarm ringing because of an unprecedented outbreak of monkeypox, we should also consider a different but closely related viral threat.

With a global alarm ringing because of an unprecedented outbreak of monkeypox, we should also consider a different but closely related viral threat.

biosecurity
sign reading "bio-security precautions, no unauthorized personnel"
Opinion: Coronavirus and Regulating Access to High-Risk Pathogens
Michael Parker, Shreya Kalra, and Bryce Kassalow | Feb 10, 2022 | 10+ min read
Overbearing restrictions on research into toxins and pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2 could undermine public health and security in the long run.
Union Says National Lab in Canada Is a Toxic Workplace
Jef Akst | Sep 30, 2019 | 3 min read
After a scientist at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg had a mental breakdown that may have contributed to her death in 2016, employees raise red flags about an unhealthy work environment.
a biosafety suit hanging in a hallway
CDC Shuts Down Army Lab’s Disease Research
Shawna Williams | Aug 6, 2019 | 2 min read
The agency cites lapses in biosafety procedures at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Maryland.
Hackers Are Breaking into Medical Databases to Protect Patient Data
Catherine Offord | Oct 1, 2018 | 4 min read
Agencies such as the NIH reward the discovery of vulnerabilities in their computer systems—before criminals can exploit them.
MyHeritage Account Data Compromised in “Cybersecurity Incident”
Catherine Offord | Jun 6, 2018 | 2 min read
A security researcher found the email addresses and encrypted passwords of more than 92 million users of the genealogy site on a private server outside the company.
The Strange and Stranger Case of Wyndham Lathem
Anna Azvolinsky | Aug 24, 2017 | 5 min read
A Northwestern University plague researcher has been charged with a brutal murder. Here’s what we know about him.
Smallpox Kerfuffle Reveals Biosecurity Problems
Kerry Grens | Jul 12, 2017 | 2 min read
A review of a 2014 incident in which mystery vials of smallpox were found at the NIH reveals security weaknesses, but also concludes the response was appropriate. 
Toward Eliminating Poliovirus—In the Lab
Rina Shaikh-Lesko | Nov 16, 2015 | 5 min read
As the world inches closer to polio eradication, laboratories studying the virus will have to bolster biosafety standards. Eventually, most will need to stop working with the pathogen entirely.
DoD Under Investigation for Pathogen-Handling Mistakes
Jef Akst | Sep 16, 2015 | 2 min read
US Defense Department labs are the subject of inquiry following several safety breaches concerning the handling of deadly bacteria and virus strains. 
Risky Research Halted at Tulane
Jef Akst | Mar 3, 2015 | 1 min read
Federal officials suspend research on certain pathogens at Tulane University following the escape of potentially dangerous bacteria from a high-security lab.
CDC Seeks Safety Chief
Jef Akst | Jan 2, 2015 | 1 min read
In the wake of numerous biosafety breaches, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looks to hire a chief of laboratory safety.
CDC Tech Exposed to Ebola?
Jef Akst | Dec 29, 2014 | 2 min read
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lab mistakenly transferred the wrong Ebola samples—ones that may have contained live virus—to another agency lab.
Dangerous Research Regs Released
Jef Akst | Sep 25, 2014 | 2 min read
The US government releases its policy on so-called dual-use research involving dangerous pathogens that could be used for biological terrorist attacks.
CDC Lab Resumes After Safety Lapses
Kerry Grens | Jul 25, 2014 | 1 min read
A high-security tuberculosis lab at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may return to transferring hazardous materials.
CDC Anthrax Researcher Resigns
Tracy Vence | Jul 23, 2014 | 1 min read
The former head of a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention biosecurity lab has left his post amidst safety retooling at government labs.
Government Cracks Down on Biosecurity
Tracy Vence | Jul 15, 2014 | 2 min read
After a string of incidents leading to lab closures and a moratorium on the transfer of select agents, US labs are reassessing safety threats within their own walls.
Opinion: The Fatality Burden
Lynn Klotz and Edward Sylvester | Dec 17, 2013 | 4 min read
Some gain-of-function influenza research poses a significant public health threat and should be banned.
Safe Flu Research Strategy
Chris Palmer | Aug 12, 2013 | 1 min read
Researchers develop a new “molecular biocontainment” strategy for safely studying deadly flu viruses.
Regulating Dangerous Research
Kate Yandell | Feb 23, 2013 | 2 min read
The US government has come out with new rules for life science research deemed risky.
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