Texas A&M Interim President Addresses CDC's Ban

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At least 17 different media organizations took part in Thursday's conference call to hear Texas A&M Interim President Eddie Davis address the ban on the university's bioagents research.

"The review that was done at Texas A&M in July was very intense, very thorough," Davis said.

Eighteen inspectors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention canvassed A&M labs and reviewed lab procedures. What they found led to their decision to extend their ban on bioagents research at A&M until the labs are in full compliance with federal regulations.

Davis says the process to make that happen began immediately with the CDC filing their report.

"We have elevated our security in terms of access, as I mentioned, through swipe cards and video cameras," Davis said. "We have intensified our training."

In addition, the search is on for a new biological safety officer that has extensive experience and training in the area of select agents and toxins. Last week, the university's biosafety manager, Brent Maddox, resigned and weeks earlier Richard Ewing decided to step down as the Vice President for Research.

Many could make the conclusion, Davis says, that the resignations were not forced.

"Obviously, the effect of all this and the attention and scrutiny it's brought on would cause anyone to examine their particular position," Davis said.

Davis is optimistic that the ban is only temporary.

"We will be submitting a new certificate of registration for select agent and toxin research to the CDC," Davis said.

The president expects that paperwork to be filed by next week, and hopes the modifications the university is implemented in training, records and incident reporting will cause the CDC to allow A&M to resume its bioagents research by the end of the calendar year.

Davis ultimately believes the university citing mistakes will have a positive impact on the research community at large.

"I think the outcome of all this is we will have a model program for select agent work in this country," Davis said.