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Highly publicized global “race” for vaccines virtually guarantees some pathogens will escape from labs and cause deaths. In 2010, 244 unintended releases of bioweapon candidate pathogens were reported-Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

May 18, 2020

In 2010, 244 unintended releases of bioweapon candidate “select agents” were reported.”…Trump compares coronavirus vaccine search to the Manhattan Project, the World War II effort that created nuclear bombs. Newsweek, 5/16/20. Trump calls the vaccine search Operation Warp Speed,which he said means big and it means fast,” and notes the military is helping. Trump in Sept. 2019 activated a massive National Influenza Vaccine Task Force with results due 4 months ago, Jan. 2020….No vaccine currently exists for any coronavirus...Work on a vaccine for coronavirus strains has been going on since the SARS [2002, China] and MERS [2012] outbreaks, initiated by multiple organisations, including the University of Washington where it is funded by the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)”.

March 31, 2014, Threatened pandemics and laboratory escapes: Self-fulfilling prophecies, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Martin Furmanski

It is hardly reassuring that, despite stepwise technical improvements in containment facilities and increased policy demands for rigorous biosecurity procedures in the handling of dangerous pathogens, potentially high consequence breaches of biocontainment occur nearly daily:

In 2010, 244 unintended releases of bioweapon candidate “select agents” were reported.  

Looking at the problem pragmatically, the question is not if such escapes will result in a major civilian outbreak, but rather what the pathogen will be and how such an escape may be contained, if indeed it can be contained at all.

Experiments that augment virulence and transmissibility of dangerous pathogens have been funded and performed, notably with the H5N1 avian influenza virus. The advisability of performing such experiments at allparticularly in laboratories placed at universities in heavily populated urban areas, where potentially exposed laboratory personnel are in daily contact with a multitude of susceptible and unaware citizensis clearly in question….

The risk of a manmade pandemic sparked by a laboratory escape is not hypothetical: One occurred in 1977, and it occurred because of concern that a natural pandemic was imminent. Many other laboratory escapes of high-consequence pathogens have occurred, resulting in transmission beyond laboratory personnel. Ironically, these laboratories were working with pathogens to prevent the very outbreaks they ultimately caused. For that reason, the tragic consequences have been called “self-fulfilling prophecies.”…

If such manipulations should be allowed at all, it would seem prudent to conduct them in isolated laboratories where personnel are sequestered from the general public and must undergo a period of exit quarantine before re-entering civilian life. The historical record tells us it is not a matter of if but when ignoring such measures will cost health and even lives. Perhaps many lives….

The public health danger from the escape, from laboratories, of viruses capable of causing pandemics has become the subject of considerable, well-merited discussion, spurred by “gain of function” experiments. The ostensible goal of these experiments— in which researchers manipulate already-dangerous pathogens to create or increase communicability among humansis to develop tools to monitor the natural emergence of pandemic strains….The risk of laboratory escape of these high-consequence pathogens far outweighs any potential advance….

These narratives of escaped pathogens have common themes. There are unrecognized technical flaws in standard biocontainment, as demonstrated in the UK smallpox and FMD casesInadequately inactivated preparations of dangerous pathogens are handled in laboratory areas with reduced biosecurity levels, as demonstrated in the SARS and VEE escapes. The first infection, or index case, happens in a person not working directly with the pathogen that infects him or her, as in the smallpox and SARS escapes. Poor training of personnel and slack oversight of laboratory procedures negate policy efforts by national and international bodies to achieve biosecurityas shown in the SARS and smallpox escapes….

Modern genetic analysis allows pathogens to be precisely identified, and because all circulating pathogens show genetic changes over time, the year that a particular example of a pathogen emerged can generally be determined, given a sufficient database of samples. If a pathogen appears in nature after not circulating for years or decades, it may be assumed to have escaped from a laboratory where it had been stored inert for many years, accumulating no genetic changes; that is, its natural evolution had been frozen.”…


Added: From full article above: Among recent manmade pandemics leaked by labs: 2007, UK high security lab at Pirbright leaked Foot and Mouth Disease. 1966, 1972, 1978, top UK labs leaked smallpox. SARS escaped from one Beijing lab 4 timesMarch 31, 2014, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:

1966, 1972, 1978Three smallpox escapes from UK labs: “At least 80 cases and three deaths resulted from three separate escapes from two different accredited [UK] smallpox laboratories.”


SARS, 2003-2004: “There have been six escapes from virology labs: one each in Singapore and Taiwan, and four separate escapes from the same laboratory in Beijing.”


2007, UK high security lab breach:In 2007, FMD [Foot and Mouth disease] appeared again in Britainfour kilometers [2.48 miles] from a biosafety level 4 laboratory—a designation indicating the highest level of lab security—located at Pirbright. The strain had caused a 1967 outbreak in the United Kingdom but was not then circulating in animals anywhereIt was, however, used in vaccine manufacture at the Pirbright facility. Investigations concluded that construction vehicles had carried mud contaminated with FMD from a defective wastewater line at Pirbright to the first farm.”


May 1977-H1N1 flu virus released from lab in Communist China. The 1949-1950 era virus “may have escaped from a lab attempting to prepare an attenuated H1N1 vaccine in response to the [then suspected] US swine flu pandemic….The 1977 pandemic spread rapidly worldwide but was limited to those under 20 year of age: Older persons were immune from exposures before 1957.”


“From 1938 to 1972, the [mosquito-caused] Venezuela Equine Encephalitis vaccine caused most of the very outbreaks that it was called upon to prevent, a clear self-fulfilling prophecy.“…1995 outbreak of 1963 strain of Venezuela Equine Encephalitis is suspected caused by a lab leak but evidence is only circumstantial.


“Editor’s note: This essay summarizes a more detailed review of the historical record with appropriate scientific references; it is available on the website of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. The author thanks Lynn Klotz and Ed Sylvester for help with condensing the longer report for this article.”


Added: CDC influenza lab temporarily closes after dangerous pathogen leaks in 2014:

July 11, 2014, CDC Director Releases After-Action Report on Recent Anthrax Incident; Highlights Steps to Improve Laboratory Quality and Safety,”

“While finalizing this report, CDC leadership was made aware that earlier this year a culture of non-pathogenic avian influenza was unintentionally cross-contaminated at the CDC influenza laboratory with the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of influenza and shipped to a BSL-3 select-agent laboratory operated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). There were no exposures as a result of that incident.  The CDC influenza laboratory is now closed and will not reopen until adequate procedures are put in place. Further investigation, review, and action is underway….

Based on an internal review called for by the CDC Director, the report released today concludes that the scientists’ failure to follow an approved, written study plan that met all laboratory safety requirements led to dozens of employees being potentially exposed.  The report also found that there was a lack of standard operating procedures to document when biological agents are properly inactivated in laboratories as well as a lack of adequate laboratory oversight of scientists performing work in these labs.”…

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