The Defense Department is launching a comprehensive review of its laboratory procedures, processes, and protocols associated with inactivating spore-forming anthrax, according to a DoD news release issued today.
Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work today ordered the review after consulting with Defense Secretary Ash Carter, the release said.
No Risk to the General Public
There is no known risk to the general public and an extremely low risk to lab workers from the department’s inadvertent shipments of inactivated samples containing small numbers of live anthrax to several laboratories, according to the release.
As of now, 24 laboratories in 11 states and two foreign countries are believed to have received suspect samples, the release said.
The department is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who is leading the ongoing investigation pursuit to its statutory authorities, the release said.
Monitoring the Situation
The department will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates to the public, the release said.
In addition to the CDC review, Work ordered all DoD laboratories that have these materials to test all previously inactivated spore-forming anthrax in the inventory, the release said.
DoD also is advising labs that received inactive anthrax from the department to stop working with those samples until further instruction from the DoD and CDC, the release said.
Comprehensive DoD Review
Work directed Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall to lead a comprehensive review of DoD laboratory procedures, processes, and protocols associated with inactivating anthrax, according to the release.
The DoD review, the release said, will consist of:
— Root cause analysis for the incomplete inactivation of anthrax;
— DoD laboratory biohazard safety procedures and protocols;
— Laboratory adherence to established procedures and protocols; and
— Identification of systemic problems and the steps necessary to fix those problems.
After the CDC investigation is complete, the department will conduct its own investigation with respect to any apparent lapses in performance and ensure appropriate accountability, the release said.
The department takes this matter very seriously and is acting with urgency to address this matter, the release said.
Work expects review findings within 30 days, the release said.