US Army to implement new measures to manage biological toxins

18 January 2016 (Last Updated January 18th, 2016 18:30)

The US Army will implement new measures to manage toxins used by the Biological Select Agents and Toxins Task Force.

bilogicaltoxinmanage

The US Army will implement new measures to manage toxins used by the Biological Select Agents and Toxins Task Force.

The move follows an investigation into the accidental shipment of live anthrax spores from Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, to labs in nine countries and all 50 states last year.

The army uses small quantities of anthrax to test equipment designed to detect or defeat biological organisms.

The Army Surgeon General Office will double up as the Department of Defense (DoD) executive agent, carrying out technical reviews, harmonising the procedures, and integrating inspections for the use of biological toxins.

"The totality of all these decisions will greatly improve the safety in this critically important programme."

The US Army's Biological Select Agents and Toxins Task Force commander Lieutenant General Thomas W. Spoehr said: "We will establish a standing DoD biological safety review panel, consisting of prominent scientists from both within and outside of the DoD.

"That review panel will review and validate procedures for working with biological select agents and toxins."

DoD will implement a process to validate requests for biological products from outside DoD, as well as a new mechanism to track and monitor all requests and transfers.

The Dugway laboratory will be exempted from producing biological agents for export.

It will function under Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), replacing the Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC).

Spoehr added: "The totality of all these decisions will greatly improve the safety in this critically important programme for both US government workers and the American public."


Image: The officials discuss results of the investigation into the inadvertent shipment from Dugway Proving Ground. Photo: courtesy of DoD / Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz.