It was reported on Thursday that the United State Department of Transportation could also be looking into Neuralink, Elon Musk’s budding brain-implant startup, over allegations of potentially “illegal movement of hazardous pathogens.”
The probe was disclosed by a Department of Transportation spokesperson after an animal-welfare advocacy group called Physicians Committee of Responsible Medicine (PCRM) lobbied Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg regarding records it found about the company, according to a report by ZeroHedge. An animal-welfare advocacy group, wrote to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg earlier on Thursday to alert it of records it obtained on the matter.
The Department of Transportation probe adds to the scrutiny facing Neuralink, which is developing a brain implant it hopes will help paralyzed people walk again and cure other neurological ailments.
The PCRM said it “obtained emails and other documents that suggest unsafe packaging and movement of implants removed from the brains of monkeys”, according to Reuters, which was the first outlet to report on the probe.
PCRM said it obtained emails and other documents that suggest unsafe packaging and movement of implants removed from the brains of monkeys. These implants may have carried infectious diseases in violation of federal law, PCRM said.
The Department of Transportation spokesperson said the agency took PCRM’s allegations “very seriously.” –Reuters
“We are conducting an investigation to ensure that Neuralink is in full compliance with federal regulations and keeping their workers and the public safe from potentially dangerous pathogens,” the spokesperson said.
The letter said records that the group obtained showed instances of pathogens, such as antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus and herpes B virus, that may have been transported without proper containment measures. “The company’s documented track record of sloppy, unsafe laboratory practices compel DOT to investigate and levy appropriate fines,” PCRM said in the letter.
These incidents that involved potential breaches of hazardous material transportation regulations happened in 2019. That was back when Neuralink relied on the University of California, Davis to help carry out its experiments on primates, according to the documents cited by PCRM as reported by Reuters.
“This is an exposure to anyone coming in contact with the contaminated explanted hardware and we are making a big deal about this because we are concerned for human safety,” wrote the employee, whose name was redacted from the records.