(Molly Bruns, Headline USA) A recent investigation by The Intercept and other media watchdogs has revealed that hundreds of accidents recorded at biolabs all over the nation were not disclosed to the public.
The revelation comes at a time of increased scrutiny of the scientific community’s practices—and those of biolabs in particular—following the 2019 leak at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology that resulted in the devastating COVID-19 pandemic.
The research is believed to have involved so-called gain-of-function experiments that were banned in the U.S. but funded nonetheless by the National Institutes of Health, under the supervision of Anthony Fauci and others who later attempted to cover-up their involvment.
While many of the U.S. occurrences did not cause any harm, some led to scientists getting sick or exposing possible pandemic pathogens to society.
The pages revealed a “litany of mishaps,” some involving “deadly or debilitating viruses.”
A graduate researcher at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, was treating a mouse that was infected with the Chikungunya virus when the needle slipped and pricked her skin through two layers of protective gloves.
Because the injury did not draw blood, she believed herself to be fine. However, in the next few days she started exhibiting symptoms and reported to the lab what had happened.
Other cases involved test animals escaping and running about the building or test tubes being spilled.
Situations were usually dealt with before they got out of control, but the possibility of an outbreak did raise concerns about how labs were run.
Many labs use extensive safety precautions like sealed perimeters, directional airflow, and full personal protective equipment, but none are completely immune to accidents.
There are some legal requirements and regulations regarding biolabs in the U.S., but the existing legislation has left several large loopholes.
For example, biolabs dealing with most pathogens are not required to register with the government, allowing private companies to undertake experiments as they please.
In the aftermath of the COVID pandemic, politicians are now calling for more regulations pertaining to biological experimentation.
Legislatures requested that the Department of Heath and Human Services, as well as the Department of Homeland Security address this issue and come up with a plan to address a potential pandemic should it come about again.
Since then, according to the FOIA investigation, biolabs across the country have been experimenting with dangerous pathogens, including a Maryland lab that created a more severe strain of monkeypox.