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Elon Musk's Neuralink Is Under Investigation for Allegedly Jeopardizing Human Safety The company allegedly didn't package and transport devices extracted from the brains of nonhuman primates properly.

By Amanda Breen

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NurPhoto | Getty Images

Elon Musk's brain-computer interface company Neuralink is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Transportation after a physician's group alleged the company had packaged and transported contaminated materials in an unsafe manner.

The animal-welfare group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) said it gathered public records that indicate that Neuralink may have incorrectly dealt with devices harboring infectious pathogens in a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. A DOT spokesperson confirmed an investigation is underway, CNBC reported.

Related: Report: Elon Musk Fired Engineer Over His Declining Popularity

The devices were extracted from the brains of nonhuman primates and may have carried viruses like Herpes B and antibiotic-resistant bacteria like Staphylococcus and Klebsiella, per the letter. According to PCRM, the materials weren't adequately confined or transported; the group alleged that Neuralink employees may not have undergone the required safety training.

A DOT spokesperson told CNBC the investigation is "standard practice."

The outlet reviewed an email exchange between Neuralink and unnamed staffers at the University of California, Davis, which partnered with Neuralink between 2017 and 2020 to conduct experiments on primates. The emails allege that an explanted neural device wasn't "sealed" or "disinfected," posing a hazard and that several other improperly contained devices meant a risk to "human safety."

Related: Tesla Billionaire Elon Musk's Demanding Daily Routine

In December, Reuters reported that the company was under federal investigation for possible animal-welfare violations following internal staff complaints over rapid testing resulting in unnecessary animal suffering and deaths.
Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a senior features writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate of Barnard College and received an MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts.

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