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Government labs, including the one handling samples of swine flu, struggle to keep track of viruses and bacteria, a recent audit found.
The Public Health Agency of Canada document warns weak controls at federal facilities could allow harmful pathogens to go missing, or be used for less-than-scientific purposes.
"The tracking systems and processes currently in use have difficulty accounting for pathogens cultivated in the laboratory environment," the audit says.
The agency's findings earlier this year came as scientists at Winnipeg's National Microbiology Laboratory were testing hundreds of samples of what now is known as the H1N1 flu virus.
Part of the problem, the audit found, is that each lab has its own way of taking stock of its germs.
"Some facilities incorporate a mixture of manual and electronic recording or tracking systems," the audit says, "which could result in a pathogen being misplaced or become the subject of unauthorized activity."
Such was the case earlier this year when 22 vials of biological material went missing from the National Microbiology Laboratory.
Originally posted by Hereno
I love how if you ask any Joe on the street how this stuff should be taken care of, he or she could in 5 minutes, describe a system that would be more effective than the one in place now. It's pretty sad if you think about it. Do these people actually think all of this is acceptable? Or is it all just part of their plan?