Biocontainment Legislation Targets Select Agent Program

Published 6-25-2008

The Select Agent Program and Biosafety Program Improvement Act of 2008 (S 3127) was proposed by Senator Edward M. Kennedy and Richard M. Burr in June of 2008 to reauthorize the Select Agent Program to improve oversight at biocontainment labs. The bill would update the list of regulated pathogens to include genetically engineered strains as well as setting safety and worker training standards. Reflecting the proliferation of biocontainment labs in the United States, S 3127 proposes an improved incident reporting system as well as requiring an evaluation by the National Academy of Sciences to determine if the Select Agent Program regulations have hindered international scientific collaboration. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., is the chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Senator Richard M. Burr, R.-N.C., formerly headed the Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness Subcommittee.