U.S. Customs destroys biological samples taken from professor at Detroit Metro Airport
US Customs and Border Protection ultimately “destroyed” biological samples from a Polish professor after failing to determine what the vials contained at Detroit Metro Airport last month.
On November 14, a man identified as a published professor of infectious and systemic diseases from Poland was interviewed by the agency’s agricultural specialists when they found a number of unknown biological samples in his luggage, the agency said in a press release.
Officials later identified the contents of the vials as non-dangerous, non-infectious, genetically modified neutrophils, which the National Cancer Institute said are immune cells that help fight infection.
“CBP plays a critical role in protecting public health and mitigating the effects of banned biological objects,” said Robert Larkin, the area’s port director, in a statement. “I’m proud of the work our officials and agricultural specialists do every day to prevent unauthorized entry of biological material into the United States.”
The professor told officials that the biological vials were intended for his research in Poland, but that the border guards said he could not provide any relevant research material or documents as evidence.
A search in his pockets revealed the samples wrapped in dry ice. The samples were destroyed according to the publication.
According to customs and border protection, biological materials must be clearly marked, labeled and packaged in accordance with federal and state requirements for transportation d.