Australia Withholds Location of New Biodefense Lab

Global Security Newswire Staff
Jan. 17, 2014, 8:04 a.m.

Aus­tralia is re­fus­ing to dis­close the sit­ing of a new urb­an biode­fense labor­at­ory over fears of a tar­geted strike, the Ad­elaide Ad­vert­iser re­ports.

The “Phys­ic­al Con­tain­ment Level 3” com­plex, in op­er­a­tion as of this week, is the highest-se­cur­ity dis­ease re­search fa­cil­ity in the state of South Aus­tralia, ac­cord­ing to the news­pa­per.

The site is ex­pec­ted to con­duct as­sess­ments tied to “risk group 3” patho­gens, said Janice Fletch­er, the state’s act­ing patho­logy dir­ect­or. That in­cludes bio­lo­gic­al threats such as tuber­cu­los­is and Q fever.

“The lab will pro­cess around 9,000 TB samples per year,” Fletch­er said. “[It] also has the cap­ab­il­ity to test for some oth­er or­gan­isms, in­clud­ing a bi­o­ter­ror­ism test­ing cap­ab­il­ity.”

A re­cently en­acted state health law helped es­tab­lish the ra­tionale for the new My­co­bac­teri­um Ref­er­ence Labor­at­ory, which is in­ten­ded to sup­port re­sponses to the most ser­i­ous dis­ease events the re­gion may face.

State med­ic­al of­fi­cials “re­cog­nized that we did not have a suit­ably rated con­tain­ment labor­at­ory for deal­ing with high-risk mi­croor­gan­isms,” South Aus­tralia Health Min­is­ter Jack Snelling said. He said the new labor­at­ory can “op­er­ate at — or above — the level of lead­ing labor­at­or­ies in oth­er states.”

In the past, au­thor­it­ies have had to send po­ten­tial bio­lo­gic­al-threat ma­ter­i­als to oth­er Aus­trali­an states for as­sess­ment, Snelling ad­ded.

“We have to be pre­pared to re­spond quickly to test and find solu­tions to any­thing from nat­ur­ally oc­cur­ring su­per­bugs to the event of a bioat­tack,” he said.

What We're Following See More »
DOWN TO THE WIRE
Sanders Looks to Right the Ship in Indiana
13 hours ago
THE LATEST

Hillary Clinton may have the Democratic nomination sewn up, but Bernie Sanders apparently isn't buying it. Buoyed by a poll showing them in a "virtual tie," Sanders is "holding three rallies on the final day before the state primary and hoping to pull off a win after a tough week of election losses and campaign layoffs." 

Source:
‘SPOOKED’ IN NORTH DAKOTA
Cruz Delegates Having Second Thoughts?
18 hours ago
THE LATEST

As unbound delegates pledged to Ted Cruz watch him "struggle to tread water in a primary increasingly dominated by Trump, many of them, wary of a bitter convention battle that could rend the party at its seams, are rethinking their commitment to the Texas senator."

Source:
MORE PRESSURE ON CONGRESS TO ACT
Puerto Rico to Default on Payment Today
18 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The confrontation between debt-swamped Puerto Rico and its creditors is intensifying as the U.S. territory will default on payments due Monday, deepening the island's financial crisis and placing additional pressure on Congress to intervene." The amount of the default is estimated at $422 million.

Source:
A RARE KIND OF REBUKE
Leading Republicans Would Say ‘No Thanks’ If Asked to Be Trump’s VP
21 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Nikki Haley. Jeb Bush. Scott Walker. Lindsey Graham. John Kasich. The list is growing ever longer of Republicans who say they wouldn't even consider becoming Donald Trump's running mate. "The recoiling amounts to a rare rebuke for a front-runner: Politicians usually signal that they are not interested politely through back channels, or submit to the selection process, if only to burnish their national profiles."

Source:
NEW WSJ/NBC/MARIST POLL
Trump Decisively Ahead in Indiana
21 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Donald Trump holds a 15-point lead over Ted Cruz in the potentially decisive May 3 presidential primary race in Indiana, according to results from a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll. Trump gets support from 49 percent of likely Republican primary voters — followed by Cruz at 34 percent and John Kasich at 13 percent. If that margin in Indiana holds on Tuesday, Trump would be on a glide path towards obtaining the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the Republican nomination on a first ballot at the GOP convention in July."

Source:
×