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Kansas State University maintains safe, secure select agent program

Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015

 

MANHATTAN — A story published Tuesday, Aug. 4, by USA Today contains questions about oversight of federal laboratories. The story includes Kansas State University's select agent program and four consecutive federal inspections conducted at the Biosecurity Research Institute from January 2012 to December 2013.

Kansas State University stands behind its record of safety and transparency. The Biosecurity Research Institute, or BRI, has a clean bill of health and chose to address any concerns from inspections by going through a Performance Improvement Plan Program, or PIPP. All aspects of the program have been successfully addressed and the program was completed in April 2015.

Staff and researchers are subject to rigorous and detailed inspections and have fully complied with any issues identified since Kansas State University began studying select agents in 2010. Select agents include viruses, bacteria and toxins that are regulated because they are considered to pose a severe threat to agriculture or public health.

Kansas State University and the BRI continue to ensure a safe and robust select agent program. To address any concerns, the university has provided proper documentation and has responded to regulatory groups in all mandated times.

Research at the BRI remains a critical component to address threats to plant, animal and human health, and at no time has there been a theft, loss or release of select agents at the facility. There has been no harm to the public, researchers, animal health or the environment.

Research at the BRI has led to many positive outcomes. Through work at the facility, researchers have developed a vaccine for H5N1, the strain of avian influenza that has been present in Asia and has killed people and poultry. The BRI is helping researchers become better prepared to address new and exotic diseases that appear in the U.S., such as Chikungunya virus, Rift Valley Fever virus, Schmallenberg virus and wheat blast.

For more information, visit k-state.edu/update.

Source

Jeff Morris
785-532-2535
jbmorris@k-state.edu