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Pentagon Halts Work at Labs For Dangerous Pathogens After Anthrax Scare 50

An anonymous reader writes: The Pentagon announced yesterday it is issuing a moratorium on work at nine different biodefense labs after live anthrax was discovered outside containment at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah. The facility was discovered to have been shipping live anthrax specimens — instead of dead ones — to other labs. Work can only begin again after the shuttered facilities are certain to be clean of anthrax and assured of safe conduct. "The review calls for the military labs to ensure that personnel are properly trained on lab safety procedures and that necessary maintenance is conducted on biosafety level 3 lab facilities that work with some of the most dangerous pathogens. It calls for validating record-keeping and inventories of the military's 'Critical Reagents Program' — including 'ensuring that all materials associated with the CRP are properly accounted for.'"
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Pentagon Halts Work at Labs For Dangerous Pathogens After Anthrax Scare

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  • Oops. (Score:4, Funny)

    by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Friday September 04, 2015 @10:58AM (#50457835) Homepage

    Han Solo: [sounding official] Uh, everything's under control. Situation normal.

    Voice: What happened?

    Han Solo: [getting nervous] Uh, we had a slight weapons malfunction, but uh... everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?

  • by pushing-robot ( 1037830 ) on Friday September 04, 2015 @11:06AM (#50457907)

    "If you can't keep your toys in your room, then you won't be playing with them at all. No, I really mean it this time."

    The scientists' dessert privileges were also revoked in an unrelated incident.

    • It beats me why, but I wish this came from a lost episode of "Better Off Ted".

      Lem and Phil were my favorites.

      • by dbraden ( 214956 )

        One of my favorite shows of all time. I only discovered it long after it had aired and was canceled.

  • The facility was discovered to have been shipping live anthrax specimens — instead of dead ones — to other labs.

    #whatcouldpossiblygowrong ...

    • by Frobnicator ( 565869 ) on Friday September 04, 2015 @11:38AM (#50458095) Journal

      #whatcouldpossiblygowrong ...

      Anthrax is found everywhere in nature. All over the globe. And it has been around for all of recorded history.

      It has been a staple of anyone who works with wool or sheep, and even back in the earliest recorded medical history the effects of the bacteria have been present. It's been documented since the ancient greeks and egyptians.

      Anthrax was even one of the first biological weapons, ancient Romans around bombarded cities with anthrax-diseased sheep corpses.Google brings up the name Manius Aquillius (150BC) as a commander who frequently used infected corpses in warfare.

      This isn't like they sent out a nuclear bomb core. Some people didn't irradiate samples of a naturally occurring bacteria than can be easily collected on every continent already, it is even found on Antarctica.

  • Clearly the automated barcode reader tool which should have grabbed boxes of dead rather than live anthrax has been co-opted by Skynet. Not as much fun as nuking cities, but leads to the same mountains of skeletons in the end.

    • Clearly the automated barcode reader tool which should have grabbed boxes of dead rather than live anthrax has been co-opted by Skynet. Not as much fun as nuking cities, but leads to the same mountains of skeletons in the end.

      I wonder if they are using the same system as Amazon which kept shipping me size 11.5 shoes when I specifically ordered 10.5 shoes and which lists a slightly longer pipe for 3x the cost (Someone typed $92 when it clearly should be $42) of the shorter pipe ($38). The point is that most automated systems are only as good as the data input by the user.

      Of course, there is always the chance that whatever is being used to kill the anthrax is malfunctioning.

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        I happened to be the first person on an new SAP system for ordering from Avaya. After getting the wrong thing 4 times, the tech essentially broke into his own warehouse to "steal" the correct item. The $80k of work was eventually billed at $30k. And sadly, that's one of the best experiences I've had with SAP.
  • I just hope that they make sure the contractors install all of the self-destruct deactivation substations properly.

    =Smidge=

  • Didn't I watch this on TV? Oh yeah...it was The Stand.

  • "Critical Reagents Acquisition Program", there, now their acronym is perfect.
  • A reminder to all Black Mesa personnel: Regular radiation and biohazard screenings are a requirement of continued employment in the Black Mesa Research Facility. Missing a scheduled urinalysis or radiation check-up is grounds for immediate termination. If you feel you have been exposed to radioactive or other hazardous materials in the course of your duties, contact your radiation safety officer immediately. Work safe, work smart. Your future depends on it.

    - Half-Life Announcement

  • "Halt and Catch Your Death"
  • Didn't the lab just send live pathogens intentionally as a way to work around paperwork?
    Like maybe the request for dead pathogens is interpreted by both party as a request for live ones but without the additional paperwork. Considering how overzealous regulators can be, the procedure required to send dead pathogens is probably secure enough for live ones.

If God had not given us sticky tape, it would have been necessary to invent it.

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