It’s been almost a month since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shut down an Army infectious disease research lab, and a local lawmaker wants answers.
Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, sent a letter on Friday to acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, wanting to know how the shutdown of the Fort Detrick, Maryland, facility will affect its ongoing work and whether anyone was exposed to a dangerous agent as a result of the “deficiencies” the CDC found in a June inspection.
“I was disappointed to have learned of this situation through press reports, rather than from the Army directly, even though it happened several weeks ago,” Van Hollen wrote.
USAMRIID received a cease and desist letter from the CDC on July 18, a spokeswoman confirmed to Military Times on Friday.
Violations with the lab’s wastewater treatment system prompted the shutdown, she said, leading to a suspension from the Federal Select Agents Program, which allows facilities to handle biological and chemical agents.
One of those is Ebola, for which USAMRIID has been working to develop a vaccine. In March the lab received approval from the Food and Drug Administration to inject monkeys with live virus in order to test the effectiveness of treatments.