UK Biosecurity Lapse

UK Security Lapse Is Tip of Iceberg

We now know that a research lab was to blame for the latest outbreak of foot and mouth in the UK. But the escape of a biological agent from a supposedly secure facility is nothing new, say experts. Worse, similar incidents are more likely in the future.

“Lab accidents happen more frequently than the public knows,” says Ed Hammond of the Sunshine Project in Austin, Texas, a non-profit organisation that monitors the use of biological agents.

“They are not always as spectacular as the one in the UK, but I believe, based on years of looking into this, that there’s a real culture of denial about the scale of the problem,” says Hammond, who recently used the US Freedom of Information Act to confirm and expose an undeclared incident at Texas A&M University in College Station.

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