first_img Rep Bart Stupak, D-Mich., who led the hearing, said today’s session was the first of a series of committee hearings on the subject, which will include biosafety at labs outside of the United States and the proposed closure of the BSL 4 facility at Plum Island, N.Y. He said that he hoped for input from the Department of Homeland Security, but that it had declined a request to appear at today’s hearing. These concerns have been highlighted recently by aggressive efforts from the Sunshine Project, a watchdog group that monitors biodefense research safety, and by other media reports. Representing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on the witness stand, Hugh Auchincloss, MD, deputy director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said the labs it funds are expected to follow good laboratory practices described in the Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories manual , and that the agency monitors the work of local institutional biosafety committees (IBCs) that oversee recombinant DNA work in the labs, though he said there is no federal body that sets standards for IBCs. The rising number of BSL 3 and BSL 4 labs in the United States is unprecedented, he said, pointing out that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has allocated $1 billion toward the construction of new BSL 3 and BSL 4 labs in the past few years. Rhodes said even some federal entities, particularly the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and intelligence agencies, have voiced concerns about the rapid expansion of biosafety labs. He pointed out that the FBI, for example, has said its workload has ballooned because it must do security checks on employees working at the high-containment labs, which takes time away from their other investigative duties. Legislators asked several of the witnesses if the federal government had ever assessed how many biosecurity labs were needed to conduct work toward its bioterror countermeasure development goals, but it was unclear if numbers were ever projected. “There’s a positive correlation between transparency and compliance and reporting,” Hammond said, adding that the group’s revelations about the lab incidents at Texas A&M have prompted a spike in reports from other labs to the CDC. During the hearing, witnesses from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a preliminary report on oversight of new biosafety level (BSL) 3 and BSL 4 laboratories in the United States that includes several steps officials should take to address the problem. The hearing was available on a live Webcast. improve the training of lab staff to ensure safety measures are followed The CDC has ordered an external review of its select agent program, and an audit of the CDC’s select agent management practices by the Office of the Inspector General should be completed in 2008, Besser told the group. Rep Michael Burgess, R-Tex., countered that it might be necessary to undertake some greater risks to gain greater national security in the form of better vaccines and countermeasures against bioterrorist attacks. “But are we doing a good job of managing that risk?” he asked. GAO releases preliminary findingsTestifying on behalf of the GAO, Keith Rhodes, PhD, chief technologist for the office’s Center for Technology and Engineering, said because a baseline of human error will always be present in laboratory settings, the level of safety risks will rise as the number of labs increases. Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the number of BSL 4 labs has risen from 5 to 15, he said. The GAO estimated in its report that there are nearly 1,400 BSL 3 labs in the United States. Rep Joe Barton, R-Tex., reminded the committee that, despite apparent gaps in federal oversight, it should keep in mind that the biodefense work is critical to the nation’s health and security. identify and overcome barriers to reporting lab accidents Besser said public concerns and questions about the labs were understandable and legitimate. “Just because there hasn’t been a threat to the public, doesn’t mean that an incident couldn’t happen in the future,” he said, adding that the CDC realizes it needs to improve inspections by interviewing more people at the labs, reviewing a broader range of documents, and releasing more outreach and training documents for labs. In his opening statement, Stupak said it has become clear that no single federal agency is responsible for ensuring the security of the nation’s high-containment labs. “No one in federal government knows how many there are, what research is going on in them, or how safe and secure they are,” he said. inform medical providers about the agents that lab staff work with to ensure quick diagnosis and treatment “Our system can’t absorb all of the labs coming online,” he said. maintain the long-term physical integrity of high-containment labs Of 12 agencies the GAO surveyed, none is responsible for tracking the number of BSL 3 and BSL 4 labs in the United States. “Consequently, no agency is responsible for determining the risks associated with the proliferation of these labs,” the GAO report states. “This would create a culture of not tolerating safety lapses and would allow employees, in a collaborative fashion, to learn from mistakes,” Burgess said, pointing out that no-fault safety incident reporting has been successful in the federal aviation and aeronautics work environments. Though the GAO’s report was preliminary, Rhodes said GAO investigators have already identified six lessons, based on recent lab incidents in the United States, as well as at the Pirbright facility in the United Kingdom, which is thought to have triggered recent foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks. Health officials need to: Davis said the university failed to report the Brucella incident in a timely manner and is taking the lab safety issues very seriously. However, he said episodes have exposed complex lab management issues. “There’s a gap between understanding at the research compliance office and labs,” he said, adding that clearer federal guidance is needed on what constitutes an occupational pathogen exposure. Oct 4, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – A US House of Representatives committee today explored problems at the nation’s biodefense labs, including a lack of coordinated federal oversight and even a lack of knowledge of how many high-containment labs exist. Some legislators asked why reports of laboratory accidents, such as the employee at Texas A&M University who was sickened by Brucella, came about through the efforts of the Sunshine Project, a nonprofit group based in Austin, Tex., rather than through Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) inspectors. clarify what constitutes an occupational exposure ensure that BSL 4 labs have safety and security measures that reflect the level of risk they present Rep Burgess, along with Davis and other witnesses, said a no-fault reporting system, whereby laboratory employees and managers aren’t penalized for reporting lab incidents, could improve lab safety. See also: He said the NIH is looking at several ways to strengthen its oversight of the labs and has set up an intergovernmental task force to analyze he current situation and develop recommendations for improving oversight. “We need to assess the need before writing the checks to build them,” Stupak said. Oct 4 GAO preliminary report on high containment biosafety laboratories Sunshine Project makes its caseEdward Hammond, director of the Sunshine Project, said the CDC has denied several of the group’s freedom-of-information requests relating to lab safety issues. The Sunshine Project’s goal, he said, is more government transparency, which he says would provide important benefits. Sushil Sharma, PhD, the GAO’s assistant director of applied research and methods, said the CDC inspectors depend on documentation and on people honestly reporting lab incidents. Hammond contended that the necessary government projects could be done—and the nation would be safer—with one fifth of the current biosafety lab capacity. CDC and NIH respondLegislators had several questions about CDC’s laboratory inspection protocols. Richard Besser, MD, who directs the CDC’s office for terrorism preparedness and emergency response, said the labs are inspected every 3 years and more frequently if the facility changes the select agents it works with. Rhodes said the GAO would release a report detailing its recommendations in February, solicit comments from the public in March, and issue final recommendations in May. A need for clarity and no-fault reportingTexas A&M interim president Ed Davis, PhD, appeared on the stand to field questions about the lab accidents involving Brucella and Coxiella burnetti that were revealed in April by the Sunshine Project. Sep 19 CIDRAP News story “Biosafety lapses reported at 3 more Texas labs”last_img read more

first_imgTowers Watson, New Zealand Superannuation Fund, PwC, Towers Watson Netherlands, Mercer, Deloitte, Schroders, Cardano, Baring Asset Management, Roubini Global Economics, Lombard Risk Management, European Actuarial & Consulting Services, Tages Capital, EUROSIF, F&C Asset Management, Xafinity, Hymans Robertson, Sackers, Pinsent MasonsTowers Watson – Tim Mitchell and Ed Wilson have joined the consultancy as part of an expansion of its design consulting for asset owners and investment advice to institutional asset owners. Mitchell joins from the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, where he most recently served as a senior adviser for strategic projects and general manager of corporate strategy. Before then, he was a principal adviser for Crown financial policy to the New Zealand Treasury and CIO at Colonial First State in New Zealand. Wilson joins from PwC, where he was a director. Before then, he was head of investment research at HSBC Actuaries and Consultants.Towers Watson Netherlands – Michel Kuiters has started as senior investment consultant at Towers Watson, where he will focus on asset-liability management and risk management – including hedging strategies through derivatives and physical investments – for institutional investors. He joins from Cardano, where worked as a strategic risk manager.Mercer – Wayne Davidson has been appointed senior consultant in the Investment business. He joins from Deloitte, where he worked for nine years, most recently leading its London investment consulting business. At Mercer, he will head up a team of 20 analysts. Schroders – Mike Kleyn has joined the Advanced Beta team. He previously worked at Diamond Lightsource Synchrotron as a scientific software developer and has 15 years of experience in developing and researching systematic fixed income strategies at ABN Amro and BlackRock. Duncan Shand will also join the Advanced Beta team. He joined Schroders as a senior adviser on a consultancy basis in September 2014 from Warwick Business School, where he was a professor of Practice. Prior to joining Schroders, he spent 14 years at BlackRock.Baring Asset Management – David Nowakowski has been appointed director of fixed income research. He joins from Roubini Global Economics, where he was senior director of research. Before then, he was a strategist and portfolio manager at Atlas Capital.Lombard Risk Management – Alastair Brown has been appointed chief executive. He joins from Royal Bank of Scotland, where he worked in a variety of technology leadership roles in Global Banking and Markets, CIO of International Banking and most recently as head of eChannels, Global Transaction Services.European Actuarial & Consulting Services – Colin Mayger, a partner at Barnett Waddingham, has been appointed chairman. Mayger takes over the two-year-long posting from outgoing chairman Roel Nass, a partner at Dutch actuarial and pensions consultancy LNBB.Tages Capital – Ed Morse has been appointed as sales director with responsibility for sales and marketing for the UK and Northern Europe. He joins from F&C Asset Management, where he was co-head of investment trusts. Before then, he was sales director at Thames River Capital.EUROSIF – Flavia Micilotta has been appointed executive director. She joins from the Brussels-based Foreign Trade Association, the umbrella organisation that promotes social compliance (BSCI) and environmental performance management (BEPI), where she worked as a sustainability consultant. Xafinity – Nigel Heaton has been appointed as a sales director. He joins from Hymans Robertson, where he was a senior consultant. Before then, he served as a sales manager at RPMI.Sackers – Alasdair Blackshaw has been appointed to the Pensions & Investment Litigation team as an associate. He joins from Pinsent Masons, where he undertook his training contract and qualified in 2015.last_img read more

first_imgA NEW WORLD RECORD by Joyciline Jepkosgei!! I predicted a world record for the women 10km road race; it happened about 30 minutes later!!— Justin Lagat (@Kenyanathlete) September 9, 2017“I’m so happy, I thank God for making me the winner today and… (breaking) the world record,” Jepkosgei told Czech Television.“I was very confident and I was hoping for the best,” she added, after beating compatriot Fancy Chemutai and Kenyan-born Bahrain runner Violah Jepchumba in Prague’s historic centre.Kenyans also dominated the men’s race, with Benard Kimeli taking the honours in 27min 10sec, beating his brother Matthew and fellow Kenyan Rhonex Kipruto.Share on: WhatsApp Congratulations Joyciline Jepkosgei for breaking the world 10km record at the 2017 Birell Prague Grand Prix. You have done our country proud— Uhuru Kenyatta (@UKenyatta) September 9, 2017 Prague, Czech Republic | AFP | Kenya’s Joyciline Jepkosgei became the first woman ever to run 10 kilometres on the road in under half an hour after clocking 29min 43sec in Prague on Saturday.The 23-year-old Kenyan, who set the world half marathon record in the Czech capital in April, beat her own record of 30min 04sec she had set during that race.last_img read more