Anthrax and smallpox errors highlight gaps in US biosafety

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal agencies are in the dock over serious lapses in their handling of dangerous pathogens.

A recent series of lapses in biosafety at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal agencies shows that there is a serious problem with the way research into dangerous pathogens is regulated, according to biosafety experts.

Vickie Sutton, director of the Center for Biodefense, Law and Public Policy at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, says such incidents are likely to continue unless there is a major overhaul of the regulatory structure. “The current situation is not even logical”, she says. “The CDC regulates work at universities and other agencies, but also itself. It’s the fox watching the chicken house.” Read more in The Lancet.