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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: a review of SARS Lab Escapes

Demaneuf, Gilles

In 2003–04, in the wake of the SARS epidemics, there were multiple cases of laboratory acquired infection (LAI) with SARS in just a few months: first in a P3 in Singapore, then in a military P4 in Taipei and last a protracted case in a P3 in Beijing.

This article reviews some of these cases and discusses briefly some of the insights that were gained from these at the time.

Without exaggeration, the Beijing LAI accident seems very much to be a story of towering academic ego, shocking incompetence, obstruction of the truth and lack of accountability. More importantly the unchallenged poor-handling of the investigation by the Chinese authorities may have set a bad precedent.

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