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GAO Says More Oversight Of Biolabs Needed

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HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) The Government Accountability Office says a national strategy is needed for overseeing the expanding number of laboratories designed for research on the world's deadliest pathogens.

Since the deadly anthrax attacks of 2001, the number of so-called high-containment labs has increased, but no single agency is overseeing the expansion.

The GAO said in its report Monday that no one is analyzing the associated risks, and no federal agency knows whether the number of labs that can be operated safely has been met or exceeded.

The report comes on the eve of a Senate subcommittee hearing on biolab security, and a National Research Council review of health and safety risks at an Army biodefense lab under construction at Fort Detrick in Frederick.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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