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White House calls for “safety stand-down” at US laboratories

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g5430 (Published 03 September 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5430
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

Recent safety lapses at two US laboratories that handle dangerous pathogens have prompted the White House to urge all US government agencies whose facilities handle infectious agents or toxins to conduct “safety stand-down” exercises to review biosafety and biosecurity practice in laboratories.

In a memorandum sent on 19 August1 Lisa Monaco, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, and John Holdren, assistant to the president for science and technology, said it was “imperative” that US researchers on infectious disease conduct “a comprehensive review of current biosafety and biosecurity protocols and procedures” and that they document their culture collections.

Earlier this year, safety lapses in two high level biocontainment laboratories at the US Centers for …

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