New biodefense lab in Maryland
| 06.28.2006 | 07:02:57 | Views: 2952 | ID:
June 28 '06: The Frederick News-Post reported Tuesday that a new National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center is being built in Frederick, Maryland. The building will be the first of its kind to house biodefense operations for the Department of Homeland Security - currently, there are several operational-but-separate locations working on biodefense. "The laboratory's mission," the News-Post wrote, "is to understand current and future biological threats; assess threat vulnerabilities and potential consequences; and conduct forensic analysis of evidence from terrorism and biological crimes." The center is expected to open June 2008.
In its departmental press release, DHS Deputy Secretary Michael Jackson said the current threat "picture is ever-changing, and this facility will provide an enduring biodefense capability against these types of emerging threats." Under the guidance of the DHS Science and Technology Directorate, the NBACC will include labs belonging to the Departments of Defense, Agriculture, and Health as well as the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The Baltimore Sun reported that the $128 million, 160,000-square-foot facility would study "'novel packaging' and delivery systems for biological agents and engage in 'red teaming'," according to one DHS official. DHS officials told the Sun that one of missions in NBACC would be to develop strong biological strains in order to find effective vaccines so that if a terrorist were to unleash a biological attack, health officials would be able to combat the spread of a deadly agent. In a general overview of NBACC on the DHS website, the programs conducted "will provide knowledge of infectious properties of biological agents, effectiveness of countermeasures, decontamination procedures, and forensics analyses to support policy makers and responders' development of policies, programs, and technologies."
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