Friday, December 16, 2005

Bird flu virus in Leaky Aerosol Chamber?

Complacency grows with widespread use of scientific samples of the H5N1 bird flu virus.

New Zealand has announced intentions to import and tinker with the virus at a research laboratory in Wallaceville, in the interests of science of course, according to the director of Biosecurity New Zealand.

What is alarming about this announcement is that the facility at Wallaceville is only rated to Biological Safety Level BSL 3.

Just last year the world experienced laboratory infection spread from so called safety labs when a leaky aerosol chamber manufactured by the University of Wisconsin at Madison was responsible for three laboratory-acquired tuberculosis infections in a Seattle BSL-3 lab last year.

The same Madison chamber in use in the New Zealand BSL 3+ facility, full of seals and "O rings" made in the USA.

Do scientists tinkering with viruses and vaccines themselves; pose the real risk of mutating avian influenza?

Aerosal leaks in BSL containment
Ministry of Health New Zealand
Biological safety levels BSL 1 BSL2 BSL 3 BSL 4
Avian flu information