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WHO Confirms Major Fear About Biolab with Deadly Pathogens in War Zone

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The World Health Organization warned of a “huge biological risk” Tuesday after the National Public Health Laboratory in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum was taken control of by paramilitary forces.

The Rapid Support Forces, a paramilitary group fighting with Sudan’s military for control of the African nation, now has access to “samples of diseases and other biological material,” CNN reported, citing an unnamed “high-ranking medical source.”

Journalists reported hearing gunfire and fighter jets a mere 12 hours after the signing of a 72-hour truce between the two factions, each of which blamed the other for violating the ceasefire.

The RSF, however, told CNN that it had “no control over the laboratory.”

The WHO also said it could no longer access the lab.

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“[T]rained laboratory technicians no longer have access to the laboratory,” the organization told CNN.

Nima Saeed Abid, a WHO representative in Sudan, told the outlet that its loss of access to the facility was “extremely dangerous because we have polio isolates in the lab, we have measles isolates in the lab, we have cholera isolates in the lab.”

According to Abid, the lab no longer had power, making it “not possible to properly manage the biological materials” stored there.

He refused to state which side of the conflict had taken control of the lab, Reuters reported.

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“This is the main concern: no accessibility to the lab technicians to go to the lab and safely contain the biological material and substances available,” he told reporters on a video conference.

The “high-ranking medical source” said the situation amounted to a “real biological danger” and called for “urgent and rapid intervention” to secure the facility and restore power.

A professor in London, however, downplayed the risk.

“It could create a risky situation, but it’s a regular health lab, not a high containment facility,” Fillipa Lentzos, Associate Professor in Science and International Security at King’s College London, told the BBC.

“The agents which are in the lab are all diseases which are endemic in the region anyway, so they wouldn’t really be classified as high risk,” she said.

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Many countries have evacuated their citizens from the strife-torn nation. The Biden administration has pulled out U.S. embassy personnel, but has left American civilians largely on their own.

Fighting in the past two weeks had led to at least 459 deaths and an additional 4,072 injuries, according to the WHO, although Abid said those numbers underestimated the actual figures.

The WHO has seen 14 health facilities attacked in the most recent round of fighting, Reuters said.

The BBC, citing Sudan’s Federal Ministry of Health, said that over a third of the health facilities in the capital were “non-functional,” and another quarter were “unresponsive.”

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George Upper is the former Editor-in-Chief of The Western Journal and was a weekly co-host of "WJ Live," powered by The Western Journal. He is currently a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. A former U.S. Army special operator, teacher and consultant, he is a lifetime member of the NRA and an active volunteer leader in his church. Born in Foxborough, Massachusetts, he has lived most of his life in central North Carolina.
George Upper, is the former editor-in-chief of The Western Journal and is now a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. He currently serves as the connections pastor at Awestruck Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a former U.S. Army special operator, teacher, manager and consultant. Born in Massachusetts, he graduated from Foxborough High School before joining the Army and spending most of the next three years at Fort Bragg. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in English as well as a Master's in Business Administration, all from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He and his wife life only a short drive from his three children, their spouses and his grandchildren. He is a lifetime member of the NRA and in his spare time he shoots, reads a lot of Lawrence Block and John D. MacDonald, and watches Bruce Campbell movies. He is a fan of individual freedom, Tommy Bahama, fine-point G-2 pens and the Oxford comma.
Birthplace
Foxborough, Massachusetts
Nationality
American
Honors/Awards
Beta Gamma Sigma
Education
B.A., English, UNCG; M.A., English, UNCG; MBA, UNCG
Location
North Carolina
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Business, Leadership and Management, Military, Politics




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