The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is conducting a nationwide search of its cold storage units after discovering vials of smallpox in a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cold storage room at the National Institutes of Health facility in Bethesda, Maryland. Along with the vials ofsmallpox were 327 other pathogens including vials labeled for dengue, influenza, and rickettsia. This news comes as the CDC is under multiple investigations for unsafe practices. In response to the news Richard H. Ebright, a professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Rutgers University remarked “It is ironic that the institution that sets U.S. standards for safety and security of work with human pathogens fails to meet its own standards.”
Also this week, the AP reported what is being described as an ‘accident’ saying “A government scientist kept silent about a potentially dangerous lab blunder and revealed it only after workers in another lab noticed something fishy, according to an internal investigation. The accident happened in January at the headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. A lab scientist accidentally mixed a deadly strain of bird flu with a tamer strain, and sent the mix to another CDC lab and to an outside lab in Athens, Georgia.” This strain of avian flu, known as H5N1, has killed 60% of the roughly 650 people who have been infected with it since 2003 according the CDC and World Health Organization.
The New York Times reported that CDC head, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden has closed the CDC’s flu and bioterror labs and has banned all shipments from the agency’s highest-security labs while safety protocols are being reviewed.
While the Times notes that these lab closures will hamper the work done by other public health labs one could argue that the shutdown is the lesser of two evils in light of government documents obtained by USA Today revealing that more than 1100 similar cases were reported between 2008 – 2012 including a snafu at Fort Detrick involving over 9,200 unaccounted for vials, some of which contained Ebola and Anthrax. It’s impossible to know how many cases may have gone unreported.
“It is clear that the CDC cannot be relied upon to police its own select-agent labs.”
– Richard H. Ebright, Professer of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Rutgers University
In 2011-2012 the world community attempted to prevent a CDC approved and US funded mutation of H5N1 by Ron Fouchier of the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam. Previously, H5N1 was not considered a danger because the natural strains of the virus were specifically adapted to infect birds. However the mutation that Fouchier later developed, ostensibly to discover ways to prevent it from threatening humans, is ‘highly contagious’, easily transmissible to mammals, airborne and deadly.
In other words, the CDC approved the creation of a virus that would pose a grave threat to humanity under the guise of preventing that same virus from threatening humanity. Extrapolating from the 1918 Spanish Flu Epidemic scholars have estimated that should H5N1 become a pandemic, one billion people would become ill and 62 million would die.Despite the Dutch government’s attempts at blocking the publication of Fouchier’s processes and findings, the entire ‘manual for creating a global pandemic‘ was later made public by Science Magazine. Scientific American listed the necessary materials as “Ten ferrets, some bird flu and swabs. That is all.”
“Yes, there is a danger, but it’s not arising from the viruses out there in the animals, it’s arising from the labs of grossly ambitious people.”
– Lord May, former president of the Royal Society and chief science advisor to the British government
Earlier this summer, a nearly identical experiment was announced, alarming scientists worldwide. Yoshihiro Kawaoka and a team of researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison used fragments of naturally occurring bird flu to reverse engineer the 1918 Spanish Flu which killed an estimated 50 million people. They then mutated the virus to make it airborne and to spread more easily from one animal to another.
“The work they are doing is absolutely crazy. The whole thing is exceedingly dangerous,” said Lord May, the former president of the Royal Society and one time chief science advisor to the British government. “Yes, there is a danger, but it’s not arising from the viruses out there in the animals, it’s arising from the labs of grossly ambitious people.” Marc Lipsitch, professor of epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health “…worried that this signals a growing trend to make transmissible novel viruses willy-nilly, without strong public health rationale. This is a risky activity, even in the safest labs.” (emphasis mine) “Scientists should not take such risks without strong evidence that the work could save lives, which (Fouchier’s) paper does not provide,” In an article published in May 2014, Lipsitch argued that experiments like Kawaoka’s could unleash a catastrophic pandemic if a virus escaped or was intentionally released from a high-security laboratory.
Current investigations into CDC practices mirror a similar probe that was launched by the Department of Health and Human Services after it was discovered that United States government labs were somehow involved in the anthrax bioterror attacks that began eight days after 9/11.
In 2010 when the Department of Justice and FBI announced a formal conclusion of theAmerithrax case they declared that microbiologist Dr. Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator. Dr. Ivins was one of the lead scientists on the FBI’s Amerithrax Task Force. In July of 2008 police were summoned to Ivins’ home only to find him dead, purportedly from suicide, having never been charged in the bioterror investigation. Many were incredulous when local police told reporters that the state medical examiner “determined that an autopsy wouldn’t be necessary”.
Citing a complete lack of physical evidence, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman (and recipient of one of the anthrax-tainted letters) Patrick Leahy stated that “…he simply does not believe that Ivins was the prime culprit if he was a participant at all, and said he is absolutely convinced that there were others involved…”
Francis Boyle, an international law expert and bioweapons advisor to the first Bush administration, also advised the FBI’s investigation. Boyle later revealed evidence indicating that the attacks constituted a false flag designed to ensure that the PATRIOT Act would be signed into law.
In addition to his credentials as a government advisor, Boyle also holds a Doctorate of Law Magna cum Laude and a Ph.D. in Political Science, both from Harvard University. He teaches International Law at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and also served on the Board of Directors of Amnesty International (1988-92) and represented Bosnia-Herzegovina at the World Court.
Regardless of what these new investigations may or may not reveal concerning the CDC’s standards and practices we know one thing is certain; to rely upon the Federal Government for one’s safety would be a stupid and potentially fatal mistake and one that is entirely contrary to the values and principles upon which our country was founded.