Division of Select Agents and Toxins: Stories and Blogs

Keeping Work with Select Agents Safe, Secure

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Although potentially dangerous, work with select agents and toxins provides important scientific discoveries that have led to improved detection, prevention, diagnostic, and treatment options for diseases. Select agents and toxins are also considered to be some of the most threatening to the health and safety of people, plants and animals. Learn more.

Behind the Clipboard: Adventures of a Lab Inspector

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You might think being a laboratory inspector is a boring job – the kind of work that’s suited to glasses-wearing, clipboard-carrying types who hate adventure and love enforcing rules. However, during a recent sit-down with a small group of CDC inspectors, I discovered their jobs are anything but dull. Learn more.

Safe Travels for Zika and Other Dangerous Samples

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As Zika virus spreads across the globe, scientists in the United States are finding ways to fight it. Currently, there are no vaccines to prevent Zika or medicines for treatment. To create better tests – including rapid tests – and develop vaccines, scientists need to conduct research with the virus in their labs. Learn more.

Safeguarding Deadly Pathogens and Poisons

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Bioterrorism is not a new threat. One of the earliest recorded uses of biological weapons dates back to the 6th century B.C., when Persian armies poisoned wells with a fungus. Modern threats, however, are more complex and could cause widespread devastation. The anthrax attacks of 2001 focused our nation on making sure especially dangerous pathogens and poisons (which we call select agents and toxins) are being handled safely and are protected at all times. Learn more.

Keeping Tabs on Deadly Diseases

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CDC is responsible for protecting the public from a host of health threats, including some pretty scary pathogens, like Ebola virus or anthrax for example. One way we do this is through our Select Agents Program which is responsible for governing and regulating the use of certain pathogens by research facilities and labs around the world. Learn more.

Ten Years Later, What’s Changed?

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We now know that terrorist threats are ever present and that our nation must be in a constant state of vigilance in order to protect our communities. We’ve come along way since 2001 in bolstering our nation’s ability to prepare for and respond to catastrophic events whether natural, accidental, or intentional. We are also learning more and more every day that the resources we need for the big disasters are much the same as the ones we use for everyday public health activities. Learn more.

Cross-Agency Collaboration Helps Keep the Country Safe from Bioterrorism

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Federal agencies, private industry, academia, and state and local public health labs all handle disease-causing biological agents or toxins (i.e., select agents) for the purpose of improving public health, in areas such as vaccine development and patient care. Concerns about bioterrorism – the deliberate release of select agents such as anthrax and ricin, resulted in a series of laws being passed to establish and strengthen oversight of select agents. Learn more.