Texas A&M University said Wednesday it would pay $1 million to settle an investigation that found safety and sanitation lapses and other problems in its biodefense program, according to the Associated Press.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigated the university after a worker became infected with Brucella in 2006 and three others were exposed to Q fever. Both diseases, highly contagious in animals, can cause high fever and flu-like symptoms in humans.
Inspections afterward found such problems as missing Brucella vials, unauthorized workers with access to infectious diseases, and improper storage of dangerous agents and infected animals. They also reported an apparent insect infestation and lab workers failing to wash their hands or remove lab coats immediately after experiments.
School officials are confident they have addressed the CDC's concerns, Texas A&M President Elsa Murano said. The agency is expected to visit the school in March and could decide afterward to lift the suspension imposed last year.
The financial settlement must be approved by the Texas A&M Board of Regents, which meets Tuesday. Murano said the money would come from research compliance funds.
Texas A&M heads the National Center for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense, which is funded by an $18 million biodefense research grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
University to pay $1M for safety and sanitation lapses (2/21)
February 21, 2008