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Biotech Security Science

DHS Pathogen Lab To Be Built In "Tornado Alley" 275

Posted by kdawson
from the don't-think-we're-in-kansas-anymore dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Washington Post reports that Department of Homeland Security is relying on a rushed, flawed study to justify its decision to locate the $700 million National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility for highly infectious pathogens in a tornado-prone section of Kansas. A GAO report says that it is not 'scientifically defensible' to conclude that lab can safely handle dangerous animal diseases in Kansas. Such research has been conducted up to now on a remote island on the northern tip of Long Island, NY. 'Drawing conclusions about relocating research with highly infectious exotic animal pathogens from questionable methodology could result in regrettable consequences,' the GAO warned in its draft report. Critics of moving the operation to the mainland argue that a release could lead to widespread contamination that could kill livestock, devastate a farm economy, and endanger humans. Along with the highly contagious foot-and-mouth disease, NBAF researchers plan to study African swine fever, Japanese encephalitis, Rift Valley fever, and other viruses in the Biosafety Level (BSL) 3 and BSL-4 livestock laboratory capable of developing countermeasures for foreign animal diseases. According to the article, DHS lobbied a Congressional committee to try and convince them that the GAO report was flawed, and to head off any hearings on the controversy. Despite this, the House Energy and Commerce Committee's oversight and investigations subcommittee plans to hold a hearing Thursday on the risk analysis."
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DHS Pathogen Lab To Be Built In "Tornado Alley"

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