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High Security Labs Await Go-Ahead to Conduct Research

Newly constructed labs at Fort Detrick were examined by inspectors for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in May, and are now awaiting report results, the Fort Detrick News-Post reported.

Peter Jahrling, who directs the new site, known as the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' Integrated Research Facility, said he and his colleagues are "waiting with eager anticipation for those results."

 

Federal approval would allow labs at the site to work with "select agents" -- toxic and regulated materials that lack any known treatment options.

Research at the facility has been going on for three years in a Biosafety Level 2 lab space, which allows for potentially a moderate hazard to workers or the environment, according to the report. The new spaces would potentially allow for Biosafety Level 3 and 4 laboratories, which handle lethal substances.

The facility's research will focus primarily on viral pathogens, according to the newspaper, and the overall facility will employ nearly 120 people once all of the labs are open.

 

A CDC spokeswoman would not give a timeframe for when the level 3 and 4 labs might receive federal approval to work with select agents.

Another lab associated with the National Institutes of Health recently invented a device that could be used in hospitals to detect within 15 minutes whether a patient was exposed to a potential bioterror agent

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