A report from an external group examining lab practices at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the agency's approach to lab safety is "inconsistent and insufficient," according to CNN.
The agency put together an advisory group in response to a string of safety mishaps that occurred there over the summer involving the mishandling of anthrax and influenza samples. A subsequent incident involving the mistaken transportation of Ebola virus samples from a high-level to low-level lab occurred in December, CNN notes.
The panel of 11 experts says it is "very concerned that the CDC is on the way to losing credibility."
The panel suggests that clinical labs at the agency seek College of American Pathologists accreditation while research labs seek Biological Safety Association accreditation, according to CNN. In addition, the panel says the CDC should fund lab safety programs, hire a director to oversee lab safety, and reward researchers who have safe labs.
"It's critical that we continue to solicit feedback on how we can improve our operations, especially functions as critical as lab safety," says Sherri Berger, the CDC chief operating officer, in a statement. "We brought this group of external experts together over the summer to assist us with identifying and implementing solutions, of which many are already underway."