Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Good Stopping Point


This is the sort of news that always brightens my day.

At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new $214 million infectious disease laboratory in Atlanta, scientists are conducting experiments on bioterror bacteria in a room with a containment door sealed with duct tape.

The tape was applied around the edges of the door a year ago after the building's ventilation system malfunctioned and pulled potentially contaminated air out of the lab and into a "clean" hallway.
The facility in question is a BSL-3 Q fever lab. Q fever's potential as an incapacitating agent was heavily researched during Operation Whitecoat, not least because it's extremely infectious, and hardy enough to withstand a broad range of environmental conditions. It's very unpleasant, but it's not normally fatal and it does respond to antibiotics. (Which is undoubtedly why we'd stockpiled 5,098 gallons of it by 1970. What's not to like?)

Although the CDC's position seems to be that duct tape is adequate to prevent contaminated air from circulating, they are planning to install a self-sealing door, just as soon as it's convenient:
The construction to install the new door will begin sometime between November and next April, possibly sooner, depending on when there is a good stopping point in the experiments being conducted by the Q fever scientists.
Or, I suppose, a bad stopping point...like the ones reached by UoT-San Antonio and Boston University during their work with tularemia.

Revere has lots more.

1 comment:

r@d@r said...

great, just great. it's s?!t like this that makes me want to never leave my house again.