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Securing biological select agents and toxins will require developing a culture of trust
Date:9/30/2009

liance on accounting techniques, such as counting vials, to monitor whether a biological agent has been removed from a laboratory offers a false sense of security and is counterproductive. Instead, accountability is best achieved by controlling access to archived stocks and working materials and recording which agents are present, where they are stored, who has access to them, when that access is available, their intended use, and where they are transported, if moved to another off-site location.

Physical security is required of all facilities housing select agents, with broad regulatory guidance provided by CDC and APHIS. The variation in implementing these requirements and regulations can lead to inconsistencies and confusion as facility operators, contractors, and inspectors attempt to determine whether a facility has met the necessary security guidelines. The report calls upon the Select Agent Program to define minimum physical security requirements to assist facilities in meeting their regulatory obligations. The report also recommends laboratory inspectors have scientific and laboratory knowledge and experience, as well as appropriate training specific to BSAT research and that the inspections should be harmonized across agencies. Due to the considerable security and compliance costs involved in working with select agents, a separate category of federal funding should be made available to ensure that facilities always operate with appropriate security measures in place.


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Contact: Rebecca Alvania
news@nas.edu
202-334-2138
National Academy of Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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