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Capitol Health Call
September 9, 2009

Research Laboratory Security

JAMA. 2009;302(10):1050. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1271

Security remains insufficient at 2 US research laboratories that handle hazardous and potentially life-threatening infectious agents, such as the Ebola and smallpox viruses, according to a July 7 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The report, prepared for Republican leadership on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, is a follow-up to a 2008 investigation by the GAO of the 5 biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) laboratories overseen by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2008, the GAO found that 2 of the BSL-4 laboratories had less than one-third of the key perimeter security controls assessed at all facilities and recommended that the CDC act to correct the shortcomings.