This story reiterates why the National Bio Agro Defense Facility is a very. very bad idea no matter where it is sited. Maybe not now but in the years as it ages, loses funding and becomes structurally inadequate to contain the contamination that lurks on the inside putting the community at large at an extreme risk.
New UK animal disease lab?
Posted by Elie Dolgin The Scientist
The “shabby and dilapidated” animal disease research laboratory in Pilbright, UK — the site of last summer’s foot-and-mouth disease leak — must be replaced by a new, expanded research center for infectious human and animal diseases, an official report said yesterday.The independent inquiry into last summer’s outbreak in southeast England said that a “creeping degradation of standards” at the government-funded Institute of Animal Health probably led to a live virus, under development as a vaccine,leaking from a fractured pipe and spreading from the site. The outbreak resulted in an export ban on British livestock that cost the industry an estimated $200m. The report, Foot and Mouth Disease 2007, described the leak as “an avoidable event… that should never have happened.””The structural and management inadequacies at and around Pilbright must be addressed urgently and comprehensively,” Iain Anderson, a businessman and former government adviser who led the inquiry, told The Daily Telegraph. He blamed an ineffective patchwork of multi-agency regulation for the leak and called on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to take sole responsibility for a new National Institute of Infectious Diseases, which would replace the current Institute of Animal Health.No major leaks have occurred from animal research laboratories in the US, but the Department of Homeland Security is planning a new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility to replace the 55-year old Plum Island Animal Disease Center on Long Island, New York.