The high-risk safeguards used to conduct the most dangerous surveillance have increased over the past decade, scientists say, warning that improving barriers in some areas could lead to another epidemic.
At least 59 biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) labs are being developed, built or operated worldwide, with 23 countries including the UK, US, China, India, Gabon and Côte d’Ivoire. It includes a Chinese site at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which is currently in the center Intelligent research in the US if Covid-19 could have come out of his lab.
Gregory Koblentz, associate professor of biodefence at George Mason University, and Filippa Lentzos at King’s College London, chart The offices found that of the 42 robots where data was available, half were built in the last decade.
Three-thirds of the BSL-4 labs were in cities. And only three of the 23 states have national standards that govern the so-called double-barrels, while experiments conducted by civilians could be reversed in the military.
“Reports are improving in some countries, such as the UK and the US, where we have been broadcasting, but we have not reached our goal,” said Lentzos, an expert on international science and security. “When work is done, accidents happen.”
The rapid growth of such facilities, especially in countries such as China, has raised concerns about the decline in risk.
“The number of organizations and the number of people who have access to these risks is at risk,” said Richard Ebright, a professor of pharmacology at Rutgers University. “Accidents and outbreaks have already increased dramatically, especially in areas with limited security. We must enforce environmental and environmental laws around the world. ”
U.S. lawmakers here are investigating whether the Wuhan Institute would have played a key role in the launch of Covid-19. China has less than six BSL-4 sites in the world that are in conflict.value of work”Preliminary research into pathogens, according to Ebright.
Whatever the U.S. agencies can do, Covid-19 has already looked at research into antibiotics, many of which are not overseen or overseen by foreign powers.
According to the Global Health Security Index, cited by Koblentz and Lentzos, less than a quarter of countries with labs operating on BSL-4 have adequate “safety”, such as the US and UK. About half, including China, have a “medium”, while 41% have a “low”, such as South Africa.
Lentzos and Koblentz research add to the concerns of many scientists regarding the dangers of past medical research, even in the safest settings.
In the U.S., the Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control all oversee the use of 67 types of toxins and other hazardous substances. Their latest report found that in the US in 2019, such items were lost 13 times and accidentally released 219 times. As a result, more than 1,000 people were tested in hospitals, and some took antiretroviral drugs. No one contracted the disease.
Control of his homes in the U.S. intensified after 2001, when an insurgent killed five people by sending anthrax believed to have come from a U.S. medical research laboratory in Fort Detrick to several media outlets and two members of Congress.
The 2001 anthrax outbreak is not the only example of recent laboratory failures.
In 2004, nine people were patient with Sars and one person died after two researchers were infected with the virus while working at the Chinese Institute of Virology in Beijing. In November 2019, just one month before the first confirmed Covid-19 case, more than 6,000 people in northwestern China had the virus and brucellosis, a bacterial infection with symptoms resembling a cold, after exposure to a vaccine plant.
China has been particularly keen to create more high-security facilities in order to boost its scientific research. Bai Chunli, former President of the Chinese-affiliated Chinese Academy of Sciences, wrote an article last year warning of “obvious mistakes” in the country in more storage facilities compared to the US.
Guangdong province announced in May that it plans to build between 25 to 30 biosafety level three labs and one BSL-4 lab, over the next five years.
But some Chinese officials have warned of tight security in existing areas. In 2019 Yuan Zhiming, director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s BSL-4 lab, wrote a review of the need for safety in Chinese laboratories. “Several high-quality BSLs do not have enough money to operate on basic but essential items,” wrote Yaun, adding that spending was “neglected”.
“Because of the lack of resources, some BSL-3 laboratories run very low or sometimes nonexistent,” he said. In 2020, the central government introduced a new law establishing national security measures.
Critics say China’s secrecy over what is happening in the region makes it difficult to know how safe it is. In January 2020, Beijing reported to the Sars-Cov-2 nature reserve that it needed a government permit to release anything related to the virus.
Many scientists say China’s approach to the international research that Covid-19 started has shown the dangers of experimental testing in this country. In March, 13 countries criticized China by not allowing global experts to access more information and examples related to the onset of the epidemic.
“What we have seen so far about the Wuhan Institute of Virology is a lab that is not open and visible to the working class,” Lentzos said. “When you have labs of this type you have to make sure they are open, transparent and that you interact with your friends.”