Congress Holds Select Agent Laboratory Hearing

Published 10-11-2007

In October of 2007, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, part of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, held a hearing on government oversight of select agent laboratories. Testimony given by Dr. Richard Besser, director of an agency at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, detailed needed improvements to the inspection, documentation, and verification processes at the laboratories. The hearing examined incidents at containment laboratories such as Texas A&M University, where authorities had failed to report infection of a worker with brucellosis. At present, no single federal agency has jurisdiction over all biocontainment laboratories, particularly those that operate without federal funds.