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tv   Federal Officials Testify on Bioresearch Laboratory Security  CSPAN  September 28, 2016 5:45am-5:57am EDT

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we will try to do opening statements and then break into this a is what happens on the hill. we will continue our examination of the labs and handling of
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dangerous pathogens concluding those classified as federal select agents and we will focus on the virus is making dangerous organisms harmless and spreading disease while retaining the characteristics for future use including crucial bio defense research. this allows for the development of diagnostic tests and infectious diseases as well as discovering vaccines and other countermeasures to protect us from the epidemics. i would like to thank them for their hard work and report as well as the participation in today's hearing. i would also like to thank the cdc and the department of the army for their participation. recent incidences and the labs have revealed the methods used in the deadly select agent to put human lives at risk.
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the contractors, subcontractors and 50 states and the foreign countrieforeigncountries for moa decade. how the researchers conducted this mistake remains viable. the subcommittee held a hearing on the ship and thought to have been activated. it was shipped from the high containment lab to another with a lower level of safety and be potential exposure of 80 cdc employees and the review of the inspection found multiple failures, and activation techniques were used in the research with the training and knowledge and lack of standard operating procedures for inactivation inability to find
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the samples and disinfecting the use. these direct actions for the white house and federal laboratory were done in 2014 however even with the consciousness raised about the safety bio research labs persist in questionable activation practices. the cdc in fort collins colorado showed them to atlanta and the viruses were used and the panels of diagnostic tests in the authority despite the inactivation that hasn't been confirmed to shipment was sent. dangerous live viruses across the country.
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thankfully the package wasn't opened. they are shipping live anthrax and others led the committee to the bipartisan request of the gao to evaluate issues relevant to the inactivation. by coincidence the request was made before the discovery of the massive anthrax inactivation problems. today the gao had its findings and recommendations. it's been long overlooked by the research community and they bring us several important findings and found that the federal select program operated by both the department of defense and agriculture require a laboratory is to identify incidents involving the inactivation in its reporting resulting in complete reports. gao documented an additional 11 situations in which the select
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agents put into the activated we simply don't know how often they occurred worldwide. this is extremely disturbing. in the report they noted the need for the better follow-up on the problems of inactivation discovery and found that the federal select agent regulators were inconsistent in the referralreferrals for their investigation and enforcement approach. as one example, the incidents under the investigation by the usda were not referred for further investigation. the lack of consistency by the select agent regulators and the usda leave the subcommittee with zero confidence and regulators ability to predict the safety of the american public. but the most alarming discovery is the fact that today we still don't know what it takes to effectively and reliably have the pathogens in some cases the chemical dosing is not actually
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effective and in other cases the processes are not reliable. it's troubling that after 15 years of efforts we still lack confidence in ensuring the public from fetal bacteria viruses. this is among the highest for a select agents programs. to reiterate its been 15 years since we became aware of the programs and clearly there is a lot of work to do. i want to commend the army for its response and i want to acknowledge the cooperation we have received from the nih both that worked to identify improvements needed and to implement the changes creating new offices and additional resources. i ask unanimous consent to put the statement in the record and also all of the other statements
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of the other members and i just want to register my displeasure with this process this morning by flooding the members fully speak. as the chair and said, we are continuing to examine the issues on whether we have the proper scientific understanding and processes to ensure pathogens are inactivated and of course this gave public attention following the proving ground incident. researchers must inactivate pathogens for a variety of reasons. for example the vaccine development and diagnostic testing can occur in the safety labs. this is critical for promoting medical advancements in the public health preparedness.
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as a part of the bipartisan efforts to accelerate the path of the medical breakthroughs but as valuable as this research may be it can also be dangerous. all of the agencies here today share the responsibility for making sure the pathogens are being handled without posing a risk to the public. now, it is true we have all taken the inactive events very seriously. i am eager to hear about those efforts, but i also want to know what more needs to be done to address the possible risk to health. the gao is here to testify about their body of work and what they've done is identify a number of issues around the reporting and referral incidents regarding the incomplete and fee inactivation. for example, the number of
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incidents of incorrect investigation is unknown. how many are there, we don't know. i'm interested in hearing from the witnesses about their plan to implement the recommendations and how we can go further. i'm interested to hear about the gaps in the process for pathogens, the high containment labs across the country still have not adopted a uniform approach to the inactivation of dangerous pathogens that increase the risk that this may happen again. this is something we simply have to get right. so i think research is important to national security and the pathogens must minimize all
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potential risk. i guess we are lucky that no one has been injured or killed from exposure to the agent in the last few years just because we have had good luck doesn't mean that we should take this for granted and i know that nobody here does. i'm looking forward to working with everybody here and looking forward to working with you and other members of the committee, mr. chairman, to make sure we get this right and with that i also met the rest of my statement for the record into the other opening statements of the democratic members. >> that's right we have to run to the floor but i do want to welcome you all. as the chair man said and the ranking members if we had been here before on this issue on july 16, 2014, we had a hearing on this issue i have visited the cdc to look at the processes and
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procedures and it is such a concern to us even in your own report. he found was that the core of this problem the lack of approval and there isn't a best practice in place. so without gao we are delighted to have you here and we want to talk about three of the findings. the tracking som, the scientific gaps that exist independent federal select agent program. thank you for your attention to the issue you. >> the voting will be back so you get a slight reprieve


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