Biolab in Sudan Potentially Compromised

Biolab in Sudan Potentially Compromised

( – On April 15, fighting erupted in Sudan between the military and a paramilitary force. Hundreds of people have been killed in the conflict in less than two weeks. A lab has now been taken over by the guerilla forces.

Nima Saeed Abid, Sudan’s representative for the World Health Organization, spoke to reporters on April 25 and warned them about a serious danger, Reuters reported. Fighters with the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) seized the National Public Health Laboratory in Khartoum, the country’s capital. The lab has dangerous pathogens, such as measles and cholera. Other hazardous materials, including chemicals, are at the lab, too.

Not only does the WHO no longer have access to the lab, but power outages across the country will make the situation even more volatile because it won’t be able to be properly managed.

Not everyone was overly concerned about the risk. Fillipa Lentzos, a King’s College London associate professor in science and international security, told BBC it might not be as bad as it seems. She said that while the seizure of the lab “could create a risky situation,” it isn’t a “high containment facility.” She explained the diseases that are kept in the lab are all “endemic in the region,” so it’s not “classified as a high risk.”

The lab is located near the military headquarters, the main airport, and residential neighborhoods that include schools and hospitals. Authorities have reported multiple attacks on the healthcare facilities in the capital city. Many of the hospitals aren’t providing services, and people are stuck in their homes.

On Saturday, April 22, the US military entered the city and evacuated its embassy. It is now closed. Americans in the country are being told they will have to evacuate on their own because it isn’t safe for the US military to stage a mass evacuation. The White House has reported it is positioning naval assets to help Americans who want to leave the country.

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