Negligence at Bio-Safety Level 3 Lab in Albuquerque Kills Test Subjects, Risks Spread of Disease to Humans, Charges Watchdog; Press Conference Set for Wednesday

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
for Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Contact:   Michael Budkie, SAEN 513-703-9865 
 
Negligence at Bio-Safety Level 3 Lab in Albuquerque Kills Test Subjects, Risks Spread of Disease to Humans, Charges Watchdog; Press Conference Set for Wednesday
 
Albuquerque, NM – Negligence at a Bio-Safety Level-3 research laboratory here killed nine research subjects and involved accidents that could result in the spread of diseases into the nearby human population, reported national research watchdog organization SAEN today.
 
SAEN will release details at a news conference will be held WEDNESDAY/AUG. 13 at 10 a.m. at the MCM Elegante Hotel (2020 Menaul, NE). in the Crest I Room.
 
The press event involves heavy criticism by federal oversight agencies of Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute (LRRI) after a June, 2014 inspection. LRRI was heavily fined previously for negligence.
 
SAEN said the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture recently inspected LRRI after SAEN filed an official complaint about deaths and negligence at the laboratory. LRRI was fined $21,750 in 2011 for similar violations.
 
In a letter to the USDA today, SAEN called for a major $140,000 fine, noted that LRRI hasn't learned its lesson and that while nine animal deaths are of concern, there are other "serious problems."
 
"It is clear that the negligence at this facility not only kills animals, but could also kill people –potentially on a large scale.  BSL3 research could include virulent  diseases like SARS, which are obviously major public health and safety concerns," said Michael Budkie, executive director of Ohio-based SAEN.
 
"This facility has a long-term history of violating (government regulations). The most recent inspection lists six pages of violations relevant to seven sections of the regulations.  A 2013 inspection lists three pages of violations, relevant to six sections of the regulations. "There is a clear long-term pattern of negligence which involves not only animal deaths, but also issues which are an obvious public health concern," said Budkie in his letter to the USDA.
 
Budkie will oversee the press conference this Wednesday, and will make available all documents, including government  inspection reports.
 
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