How to fix biosecurity?

High-security labs that deal with the deadliest pathogens - biosafety level (BSL) 4 facilities - are boosting their security in light of recent mishaps, but experts say those changes, while welcome, aren't nearly enough. What's more, safety experts disagree on the best solutions for making labs more secure. BSL4 labs are "an almost infinitesimally small" part of the problem of potential safety and security mishaps, linkurl:Richard Ebright,;http://rutchem.rutgers.edu/content_dynamic/faculty/ri

Alla Katsnelson
Nov 3, 2008
High-security labs that deal with the deadliest pathogens - biosafety level (BSL) 4 facilities - are boosting their security in light of recent mishaps, but experts say those changes, while welcome, aren't nearly enough. What's more, safety experts disagree on the best solutions for making labs more secure. BSL4 labs are "an almost infinitesimally small" part of the problem of potential safety and security mishaps, linkurl:Richard Ebright,;http://rutchem.rutgers.edu/content_dynamic/faculty/richard_h_ebright.shtml a microbiologist and biosecurity expert at Rutgers University, told The Scientist. The much larger problem, he said, lies in some 400 labs one safety level down, staffed by about 15,000 people across the country. "Most persons who have access to these agents [eg anthrax] are at BSL3 labs," he said, and current security requirements at BSL3 labs are not sufficient. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), which jointly regulate research on the group...
The ScientistThe ScientistEditor's note (November 5): This post has been updated from a previous version.

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