A new report warns that without strong precautions, a planned biodefense lab in Manhattan, KS, could accidentally release pathogens like foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) — the very scourge it’s designed to fight.
There’s at least a 70% chance that the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility will accidentally release FMD and cause an outbreak at some point within a 50-year span, according to findings released by the National Research Council.
FMD is harmless to humans but devastating to cattle and other livestock. Such an outbreak would create between $9 billion and $50 billion in economic losses, the Council’s report predicted.
Defenders of the federal project criticized the National Research Council review, saying it failed to consider the many security precautions being developed to greatly limit the risk of pathogen release when the lab opens in 2018.
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