Some have reportedly involved deadly pathogens, and hundreds of cases have been kept from public view.
Directors of America’s biolabs have admitted to hundreds of dangerous accidents in the past two decades, but even incidents involving exposure to deadly viruses have been kept from public view, an investigation by The Intercept has revealed.
“People have it in their minds that lab accidents are very, very rare, and if they happen, they happen only in the least well-run overseas labs,” Rutgers University molecular biologist Richard Ebright told the media outlet. “That simply isn’t true.”
One such incident occurred in 2016, when a graduate student at Washington University in St. Louis accidentally pricked her finger with a needle after injecting a mouse with a recombinant strain of the Chikungunya virus, The Intercept said. The student didn’t tell her supervisor about the accident until after becoming ill and seeking treatment at a local hospital emergency room.
The university disclosed the accident and infection to the NIH, where the report was kept under wraps until The Intercept came calling six years later.