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K-State Today

October 24, 2012

Researchers asked to review inventories, notify university select agent program if using new pathogens

Submitted by Steven Galitzer

Three new pathogens have been added to the country's list of select agents. Kansas State University is asking researchers using these pathogens to notify the university's select agent program as soon as possible.

This month, the departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture published final rules amending the regulations that govern the possession, use and transfer of select agents and toxins. (See 42 C.F.R. Part 73, 7 C.F.R. Part 331, and 9 C.F.R. Part 121.) Among the changes is the addition of three new pathogens to the list of select agents. This includes wild type, mutant or modified recombinant or genetic material -- whole or partial genome -- from the following viruses:

  • Chapare virus, or South American hemorrhagic fever virus
  • Lujo virus
  • SARS coronavirus

All university principal investigators are asked to review their inventories to verify if they have possession of any of these pathogens. Principal investigators who posses any of the above select agents must notify Julie Johnson, the responsible official for the university select agent program, at jajohns@k-state.edu or 785-532-3248. The university is expected to respond to the Centers for Disease Control by Nov. 4.

Since 1995 the U.S. government has been closely watching the transfer of certain biological organisms and toxins to combat terrorism. The select agent program was developed to regulate the possession, use and transfer of biological agents and toxins that could pose a severe threat to public health and safety. Throughout the years, the program has changed to keep up with science, to remove research barriers and to simplify coordination between agencies.