Anthrax slip-ups raise fears about planned biolabs
Bruce Ivins was troubled by the dust, dirt and clutter on his officemate’s desk, and not just because it looked messy. He suspected the dust was laced with anthrax.
And he was in a position to know. Ivins, a biodefense expert, and his officemate were deeply involved in Operation Noble Eagle – the government’s response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that killed almost 3,000 Americans and the anthrax attacks that killed five more less than a month later. It was December 2001. Ivins, an authority on anthrax, was one of the handful of researchers at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Md., who prepared spores of the deadly bacteria to test anthrax vaccines in animals. He knew enough to grow alarmed when his officemate complained, as she had frequently of late, about sloppy handling of samples coming into the lab that could be tainted with anthrax. Full Story