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WASHINGTON — The FDA is keeping its biologics labs shuttered far longer than other government research labs, according to internal FDA documents obtained by STAT. 

FDA officials told staff last month that it will keep the labs, which research ways to improve the safety of existing vaccines and gene therapies, closed until there are fewer than 10 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in the counties surrounding the agency’s White Oak, Md., campus. Currently, just 16 states meet that metric. 

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That stands in stark contrast to the reopening guidelines at other federal research labs in the Washington area. The National Institutes of Health, for example, let many of its researchers back into their labs in June and July.

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