Coordinated Actions Needed to Enhance the Select Agent Program's Oversight of Hazardous Pathogens
GAO-18-145: Published: Oct 19, 2017. Publicly Released: Oct 31, 2017.
Laboratories conduct research on hazardous pathogens—such as Ebola virus or anthrax bacteria—in more than 200 labs in the United States. Safety lapses continue to occur at some of these labs, raising concerns about whether oversight is effective.
We looked at the Federal Select Agent Program, which is responsible for overseeing these labs, and found room for improvement. For example, the program allows some agencies to oversee their own labs, which could potentially lead to conflicts of interest. We recommended 11 actions to improve oversight.