Wednesday, May 19, 2010
ANOTHER LABORATORY BIOSAFETY CASE - BIOTECH WORKER SICKENED WITH DANGEROUS INFECTIOUS AGENT
In light of all the recent biosafety issues, another biotech worker has become infected by an infectious microorganism while working in an infectious disease laboratory at University of Wisconsin-Madison. The University has been fined and a Professor of Infectious Disease has been punished by removal of his laboratory privileges.
University of W-Madison Professor Gary Splitter worked on Brucella, a microorganism which can cause Brucellosis, a major zoonotic disease. The disease can infect animals and can also cause a contagious disease in humans. Brucella is considered a bioterrorist agent. A biotech worker had become infected while working in Splitter's laboratory.
The Wisconsin State Journal states: "His lab created antibiotic-resistant strains of brucellosis and inserted them into mice in 2007 and possibly earlier, university officials said, without approval from local or federal agencies. The concern is that if someone contracted the antibiotic-resistant version of the disease created in the lab, treatment might have been more difficult." "
Splitter will lose his laboratory privileges for five years due to this serious biosafety incident and since his laboratory was not within recombinant DNA NIH standards. The university was fined $40,000 for their role also in violations of laboratory and public health and safety standards.
Biosafety is a current worker safety and public health and safety issue. Injured biotech workers can remain ill and untreated in the United States since diseases from genetically modified organisms or laboratory strains are difficult to diagnose. In addition biotech workers have no legal rights to appropriate exposure records for treatment after incurring an exposure.
Although academic labs such as University of Wisconsin are mandated to follow NIH guidelines, private industry is under no such constraint, leaving a big gap in public health and safety standards.
The biotech worker in Splitter's lab who became infected with Brucella remains unidentified.
Creating antibiotic resistant germs in a laboratory supposedly has relevance in respected authorized research, however, could there be accidents and could these modifed pathogens escape from the laboratory environment and cause pandemic outbreaks which appear to be resistant to antibiotics? There is much controversy over the validity of long term treatment in Lyme disease. The Lyme pathogen has various ways of avoiding our immune systems and antibiotics. Could this stealth quality have been created in a lab? Check out the link below to try and determine how long they have actually been working with the Lyme disease pathogen. In several government documents, this pathogen has been classified among potential biowarfare agents....as is the brucella organism.
To learn more about where Lyme disease...or a certain form of Lyme disease, may have originated, read
Lab 257: The Disturbing Story of the Government's Secret Plum Island Germ Laboratory