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Reuters Examines Security Measures Taken At Labs Working With Deadly Pathogens

Reuters reports on security measures taken at laboratories working with deadly bacteria and viruses, examining current regulations around lab safety and detailing precautions taken at various labs around the world. “Labs whose experiments on dangerous pathogens are funded by the U.S. government must follow specific rules to keep the microbes from escaping, but those rules are not enforceable for researchers working with private funds,” the news service writes, adding, “Outside the country, security and safety requirements vary widely, experts say.”  

“Questions about biosafety — keeping dangerous microbes from escaping labs — and biosecurity — keeping out bad actors intent on releasing or stealing the pathogens — are front and center for global health officials due to a growing controversy over experiments with the bird flu virus,” the news service writes, noting, “Scientists and government officials will meet on Thursday and Friday at the World Health Organization in Geneva to hash out the safest way to deal with the studies and address fears that lab-engineered viruses could either escape or be used as a bioterror weapon” (Begley/Steenhuysen, 2/15).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.