WHO voices ‘huge biological risk’ over Sudan lab seizure
In the middle of deadly fighting that has been going on since April 15, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned of a “huge biological risk” after fighters in Sudan took over the National Public Health Laboratory in the city, Khartoum.
RSF troops took samples of diseases and other biological materials from the lab.
CNN said that the global health office did not say who took over the lab, but they did say that medical technicians could no longer get into the building.
Rapid Support Forces (RSF) said in a statement to CNN that it did not take control of the lab and that it had “no control over the laboratory.”
Nima Saeed Abid, who works for the WHO in Sudan, said that the situation is “extremely dangerous” because “we have polio isolates in the lab, we have measles isolates in the lab, and we have cholera isolates in the lab.”
He also said, “There is a huge biological risk when one of the fighting parties takes over the central public health lab in Khartoum.”
The fighting between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary RSF has forced millions of people to stay in their homes, even though it is very hot and they don’t have food or power.
The army led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the RSF led by Dagalo have been fighting for power, and 512 people have died and thousands have been hurt. Both sides say the other was the first to attack, which is what started the fighting.
Both sides also say the other side broke the cease-fire deal that Saudi and US officials worked on Monday.
The Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) said that the United States and Saudi Arabia helped make the peace happen.
Anthony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, was the first to announce the agreement. He said that it was reached after two days of intense talks, and he added, “During this time, the US urges the SAF and RSF to immediately and fully keep the ceasefire.”
In a statement, a WHO representative from Sudan said that “trained laboratory technicians no longer have access to the laboratory” and that the facility had lost power, which meant that “it is not possible to properly manage the biological materials that are stored in the laboratory for medical purposes.”
The head of the lab said that when the power goes out, there is also a chance that blood bags that are already running low will go bad.
“If there is a fight in the lab, it could turn into a germ bomb,” a medical expert told CNN.
“There is a real biological threat, so the international community needs to act quickly and quickly to restore power and protect the lab from armed conflict,” the person said.