Monday, May 11, 2015

Human Error by Erick San Juan

Human Error by Erick San Juan

"Human error is always the first explanation you should consider for a laboratory accident. The easiest way to transfer something from one place where it's supposed to be, to another where it isn't supposed to be is by a worker moving from one place to the other." Richard Ebright, the Rutgers microbiologist and biosafety expert.

Sloppy biosafety practices can result in pathogens being tracked out of labs on shoes, coats, gloves, hands or other materials that weren't properly sterilized before being removed, he said.

Federal officials did not provide any information on how they suspect the bacteria got out.

The use of the bacterium, Burkholderia pseudomallei, is highly regulated in research because it's deemed to pose a significant health threat, can kill up to 50% of those sickened, and is classified as a potential bioterror agent by the Federal Select Agent Program. Tulane scientists had been doing research to develop a vaccine for the bacterium, which is primarily found in soil and water in Southeast Asia and northern Australia, and causes a disease called Melioidosis that can manifest with a wide range of symptoms from mild to severe.

Burkholderia pseudomallei can cause a potentially serious disease in people and animals called melioidosis, that has a wide range of non-specific symptoms, such as fever, headache, loss of appetite, muscle and joint pain, and infections are often mistaken for other diseases such as pneumonia or tuberculosis. The time between exposure to the bacteria and the development of symptoms can range from one day to many years, according to the CDC, though most human infections do not cause symptoms.

Several countries have studied using the bacteria as a bioweapon because strains can be obtained from the environment and engineered to be resistant to multiple antibiotics, according to the UPMC Center for Health Security, an independent biosecurity think tank. (Alison Young, USA TODAY, 3/5/2015)

Accident in the laboratory of the highest level of protection in Tulane National Primate Center in Louisiana, USA resulted in the leak of a highly deadly bacteria that is common in Asia. After it hits an organism, for example a human, he may suffer from an acute infectious disease, death occurs within 2 to 4 days. One of the researchers who studied the circumstances of the incident was infected by the virus. Also the virus killed several monkeys, whose bodies were found far beyond the laboratory. The population of the surrounding areas is at risk of a possible contamination. Meanwhile the US authorities are trying to hide from the public and the international community.

The true goal of the US in the use of biological laboratories in the region is the collection and systematization of data on biological safety of the ‘studied’ countries. The accumulated information is used to create new types of viruses and bacteria which are components of biological weapons. And the concerned US scientist does not intend to share the results of the research with the national authorities.

With high probability it can be argued that due to the presence of the laboratory in the territory of Cambodia, Cambodian authorities believe that Americans mapped the landscape of microbiological infections and immunological status of Asia as a whole. Apparently for the same purpose, the US reportedly needs laboratories in the Philippines. It may increase the risk of uncontrolled leakage of various hazardous biomaterials and provoke a biological catastrophe.

Aware of the risks of uncontrolled leakage of dangerous biological materials, the US consciously withdrew their laboratories outside its territory, as in the case of any incidents in other countries it will be virtually impossible to prove the fact that the specialists and scientists from the US had been involved in it.

The mere fact that it's an open secret that the US military business and pharmaceutical corporations have been involved and actually engaged in so many research centers using live bacteria and creating strains that are being used as bioweapon, sloppiness in handling such high risk pathogens is not an excuse. Or is it a deliberate leak?  Just asking.


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