A new report warns that without strong precautions, a planned biodefense lab in Manhattan, Kan., could accidentally release pathogens like foot-and-mouth disease, the very scourge it’s designed to fight.
There’s at least a 70 percent chance that the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility will accidentally release foot-and-mouth and cause an outbreak at some point within a 50-year span, according to findings released Monday by the National Research Council.
Foot-and-mouth is harmless to humans but devastating to cattle and other livestock. Such an outbreak would create between $9 billion and $50 billion in economic losses, the council’s report predicted.
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