Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fort Detrick Germ Resarch Suspended

Army Suspends Germ Research at Maryland Lab

WASHINGTON — Army officials have suspended most research involving dangerous germs at the biodefense laboratory at Fort Detrick, Md., which the F.B.I. has linked to the anthrax attacks of 2001, after discovering that some pathogens stored there were not listed in a laboratory database.

The suspension, which began Friday and could last three months, is intended to allow a complete inventory of hazardous bacteria, viruses and toxins stored in refrigerators, freezers and cabinets in the facility, the Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.

The inventory was ordered by the institute’s commander, Col. John P. Skvorak, after officials found that the database of specimens was incomplete. In a memorandum to employees last week, Colonel Skvorak said there was a high probability that some germs and toxins in storage were not in the database.

Rules for keeping track of pathogens were tightened after the 2001 anthrax letters, which killed five people. But pressure to improve recordkeeping and security at the Army institute intensified six months ago after the suicide of Bruce E. Ivins, a veteran anthrax researcher, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s announcement that prosecutors had been preparing to charge Dr. Ivins with making the deadly anthrax powder in his laboratory there.

Source: New York Times

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From the Frederick News Post: Slice of Life

Slice of Life — Business owners build key of their ownSlice of Life — Business owners build key of their own
The number of keys on the streets of Frederick has risen to 31.more »
Slice of Life — Woman helps designate historic county landmarksSlice of Life — Woman helps designate historic county landmarks
BRADDOCK HEIGHTS — Around Frederick County, 372 houses and buildings bear plaques marking them as historic. more »
Slice of Life — Volunteer shows passion for the lawSlice of Life — Volunteer shows passion for the law
Al Lindgren always had an interest in police work. Growing up, he looked up to three uncles in uniform -- one a state trooper and two who served in the Navy. more »

Note: As a professional blogger I've been beating up on Newspapers in my commentary

... I've been rethinking that position: Bloggers can do what Newspapers can't (or wont do), but bloggers can not do what Local Papers do. We bloggers do not have the ability to do investigative journalism, nor do we have overseas bureaus.

I for one want local papers to have the ability to keep the local politicians honest by whistle blowing... we'll all be worse off if a local paper closes.

Issue #59

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