CDC Shuts Down USAMRIID Lab
Following an inspection in June, the CDC has issued a cease-and-desist order to the Fort Detrick biodefense lab. All research at the lab, run by the Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), is now on hold until further notice.
The cease-and-desist order means that USAMRIID’s registration with the Federal Select Agent Program is now invalid and without the proper authorization to possess and handle dangerous pathogens and materials, all research at the facility has had to stop. That said, USAMRIID can still offer its expertise in the event of an outbreak or contamination.
During the inspection of the facility the CDC found “several areas of concern in standard operating procedures,” the Frederick News-Post reported. Among the problems cited, the facility failed to have systems sufficiently capable of decontaminating wastewater, it lacked “periodic recertification training for workers in the biocontainment laboratories,” and it failed to meet standards established by the Federal Select Agent Program, among other deficiencies, Caree Vander Linden, a spokesperson for USAMRIID, told the Frederick News-Post. Importantly, no dangerous pathogens or toxins escaped from the facility, and the public was never in any danger, according to Vander Linden.
As the Frederick News-Post reported, the USAMRIID facility was investigating three top-tier agents when it got the cease-and-desist order: Ebola, Yersinia pestis, and Francisella tularensis.