GAO finds program that oversees hazardous materials labs don’t meet key elements

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In Washington, D.C., the U.S. Government Accountability Office published a report highlighting its findings after looking at the Federal Select Agent Program, which is responsible for overseeing laboratories that conduct research on hazardous pathogens like Ebola virus and anthrax bacterium. The GAO found several areas for improvement after finding that, according to the report, “the program does not fully meet all key elements of effective oversight.”

The GAO office made 11 recommendations to improve oversight including to (1) assess risks from its current structure and the effectiveness of its mechanisms to reduce conflicts of interest and address risks as needed, (2) assess the risk of activities it oversees and target reviews to high-risk activities, and (3) develop a joint workforce plan. HHS and USDA agreed with GAO’s recommendations.