The biodefense labs in and around New Orleans appear to be okay, Defense Tech readers are finding."Foo" spotted this announcement from Tulane, which says that its primate center, located in nearby Convington, is "already functioning under near normal conditions." And veteran LSU anthrax researcher Martin Hugh-Jones told Defense Tech pal Nick Schwellenbach:
"Off the cuff I would not expect a great threat as without electricity the refridgerators will slowly warm up and thus kill any stored organisms. Ditto any liquid nitrogen storage devices. ...""...the present BSL-3 labs now have locks, some mechanical, some electronic/electric. So anyone wanting to break into such a lab in a possibly abandoned LSU or Tulane or LADHHS building in New Orleans will have to have a sledgehammer with them... [and that person would have to] know exactly where to go to get what.""Yesterday I had the opportunity of discussing this problem with Dr Raoult Ratard, the Louisiana State Epidemiologist, who temporarily has his office & staff in Baton Rouge. He said that they got police permission to open the LADHHS PHS BSL-3 lab, and suitably supervised they cut the chain on the door, got in, poured chlorox into their single vial of Brucellas suis from a recent investigation --- all that was in the laboratory --- and then got on with the real business which was to recover the two laptop computers in the lab (using the bolt cutter again) which they really needed in Baton Rouge."THERE'S MORE: "I just spoke with Von Roebuck, a CDC [Centers for Disease] spokesman," Nick reports. He told me the CDC did do a call out to programs associated with the Select Agent Program [that's lab-speak for biodefense -- ed.] and there were no losses, no problems related to Hurricane Katrina. The facilities in the path of the Hurricane put high security measures in place, he said.To which Rutgers University biomchemist Richard Ebright responded:
I would translate "put high security measures in place" as "locked the freezer and the lab door before leaving." I would be surprised if more than that has been done.