Wednesday, July 22, 2015

CDC Director Calls for another COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW of lab safety six months after the last one


UPDATE:   575 shipments, 192 total labs received live, incompletely irradiated Dugway anthrax.  Congressional hearing held 7/28/15.

(The subjects in my Cheer! below are among those mentioned by USAT on July 21, 2015--Nass)

The CDC Cheer 

When anthrax spores are flying through its halls, whaddaya do?

You know what to do:  It's a Comprehensive Review!

If the House is holding a hearing, whaddaya do, whaddaya do?

You know what to do:  It's a Comprehensive Review!

If USA Today is asking questions, whaddaya do?

You know what to do:  It's a Comprehensive Review!

When CDC hides Dugway's woes, whaddaya do, whaddaya do?

You know what to do:  It's a Comprehensive Review!

When 100 labs you regulate get cited, whaddaya do?

Do a Review!

Do a Review!

Do a Review!
Here is the last review of lab safety at CDC** also requested by the Director, dated January 13, 2015.  The ink is barely dry.  But since it was so much fun, why not do it again?

Posted: Jul 21, 2015 1:13 PM EDTUpdated: Jul 21, 2015 1:13 PM EDT
(USA TODAY) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is launching a comprehensive review of how it regulates safety and security at bioterror labs in the wake of an ongoing USA TODAY Media Network investigation that has prompted congressional probes into the agency’s effectiveness.
CDC Director Tom Frieden ordered the review last week as USA TODAY prepared to report on newly obtained documents showing that the agency’s inspectors have allowed labs to keep experimenting with bioterror pathogens despite failing to meet key requirements on inspection after inspection, sometimes for years. The action also comes as the agency faces a hearing in the House next week.
“This review will be wide-ranging and includes a review of regulatory authority and the exercise of that authority so that we can identify potential modifications to the methods used to inspect labs,” the CDC said in a statement this week...
“We hope this latest review signals that the agency is finally taking this issue seriously," the bipartisan leaders of the subcommittee and full committee said in a statement late Tuesday about CDC's examination of its lab inspection program. "While we applaud CDC’s intent to investigate this matter, previous assessments have failed to meaningfully address the root causes of why these safety lapses keep happening..." 
And this story as reported by U Minnesota's CIDRAP
**   from the earlier review:  **  CDC lacks a culture of safety.  Just 6 months ago, an advisory committee to the CDC Director issued its recommendations to improve safety at CDC.  The report began with the following words: "Observation: Leadership commitment toward safety has been inconsistent and insufficient at multiple levels. Safety, including lab safety, is viewed by many as something separate from and outside the primary missions of public health and research.

The committee's final observation began: "We are very concerned that the CDC is on the way to losing credibility. The CDC must not see itself as "special." The internal controls and rules that the rest of the world works under also apply to CDC."  


Ross said...

Dr. Nass,

Note that the irradiated Ames samples seized from Bruce Ivins by FBI in 2007 apparently were not tested as part of DOD review (of USAMRIID, Edgewood and Dugway).

I believe the irradiated Ames seized from Ivins would have been taken to NMRC where the FBI Laboratory would have been stored.

By only testing irradiated samples shipped post-2001, the DOD (guided by former FBI honchos Christian Hassell and Vahid Majidi) is avoiding the central flaw of the FBI's analysis in Amerithrax -- which asssumed irradiation was 100% effective.

In written correspondence, Al Qaeda anthrax lab director Yazid Sufaat (now on trial) does not deny responsibility for the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings.

The science didn't suddenly become uncertain. Ivins himself repeatedly had irradiation problems.


1. The irradiated Ames that Bruce Ivins distributed to numerous other researchers was not available for the recent DOD review conducted at USAMRIID because it had been removed from USAMRIID by the FBI in November 2007
Posted by Lew Weinstein on August 4, 2015

2, Dugway anthrax – Will it take Congressional subpoena power to fill in the blanks in the email asking about weaponized anthrax that came to Detrick via FedEx and then was shipped out and some was missing?
Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 29, 2015

3. Bruce Ivins experienced repeated irradiation failures with virulent Ames anthrax
Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 13, 2015

4. Anthrax, Al Qaeda and Ayman Zawahiri: The Infiltration of US BIodefense

Ross said...

Is the 340 ml. shipped from Dugway in June 2001 to USAMRIID the anthrax shipped to USAMRIID that was rumored to have gone missing? Ivins calculated that it would take about 300 ml to make the anthrax used in the mailed letters. (at the concentration of Flask 1029).

Was the 340 ml. ever shipped from Dugway to USAMRIID in June 2001 for irradiation ever shipped back to Dugway?

The USAMRIID has delayed for many months responding to records relating to Dugway anthrax shipments

I had not remembered that Flask 1030 was the seed stock for Flask 1029. It is counterintuitive given that the number 1030 is bigger than 1029. (1030 itself was a mixture and had a silicon signature; it had 3 morphs).

Four vials from 1030 was sent to Dugway in 1997. Both the FBI and USAMRIID have failed to give me Notebook 3655 (pertaining to Flask 1030) and they are not complying with FOIPA.

Dugway sent back 340 ml in June 2001 for irradiation.

USAMRIID radiation was sometimes was ineffective. See 2004 report in pumpkin graphic on Lew's "Cae Closed" website. After irradiation, it was kept in the cold room near the loading dock.

And there was a Dugway shipment vaguely rumored to have gone missing.

Ivins calculated that it would take 300 ml. to make the anthrax used in the mailings.

Are there in fact shipment records proving that USAMRIID shipped back the 340 ml of Ames that was sent from Dugway to USAMRIID after irradiation?

CDC referred my request to USAMRIID — after these months of delay — but now USAMRIID has gone silent on the request (and so I don’t know what to expect or when to expect it. The truly wonderful USMRMC FOIPA officer won’t give me an estimate … which is not like her. I’ve suggested that JAG has it — lawyers representing the Army would have wanted to see the record so directly related to the so-called “murder weapon”.

Is the 340 ml of Ames the source of the so-called “Iraq sample” that Ivins was asked to look at? He intentionally mislabeled it and then what was left of the powder went missing when Fellows left.

GAO: Why are the so-called “Iraq sample” and Battelle discussed under the heading about IVINS’ knowledge of reported proposals to start conducting animal challenges at USAMRIID with dried Ames anthrax powder? What consulting did the DARPA-funded researchers at GMU’s Center for Biodefense who came to share a suite with Ali Al-Timimi do for Battelle in 1999? What work with virulent Ames did SRI in Frederick, MD do for those researchers?