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U.S. at forefront of bio-security

Sept. 7, 2010 at 4:54 PM   |   Comments

ALBUQUERQUE, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say they are training world laboratory leaders to secure deadly biological agents such as anthrax and HIV from accidental or intentional misuse.

To safeguard the world's most dangerous biological agents, researchers at the Sandia National Laboratories, working with the World Health Organization, developed the Biorisk Management Advanced Trainer Course, a Sandia release says.

The courses are part of Sandia's efforts to ensure potentially dangerous agents are not accidentally released or do not fall into the wrong hands.

The work was accelerated after the 2001 anthrax attacks on the United States, coming hard on the heels of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"In the 10 years since Sandia's team was founded, laboratory biosafety and biosecurity has become a particularly vibrant field," Ren Salerno, founder of Sandia's International Biological Threat Reduction program, said.

"The international community recognizes that safeguarding work with high-risk pathogens is critical to both public and agricultural health and international security.

"Today, there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of labs around the world that work with high-risk pathogens, and lab leaders are increasingly committed to taking the proper precautions to prevent those agents from accidentally harming lab workers, being released into the environment or being misused by someone who intends to cause harm."

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