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Disease Lab: Securing Safety in the Heartland (US)

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  • Disease Lab: Securing Safety in the Heartland (US)

    A Poultry Site news

    Thursday, April 17, 2008<SCRIPT language=javascript type=text/javascript>if(uid) {document.write('<a href="javascript: window.print();">');}else {document.write('<a href="/users/login.php?redirect=%2Fpoultrynews%2F14646%2Fdiseas e-lab-securing-safety-in-the-heartland%2Fprint&loginrequired=true&por=true">'); }</SCRIPT>
    Disease Lab: Securing Safety in the Heartland

    US - With a project of the magnitude of the $451 million National Bio and Agro-defense Facility, or NBAF, there are bound to be questions about what impact it will have on the community and region, including, "How safe is it to study animal diseases in a location near people and animals?"

    The answer, claims K-State University researcher, Ron Trewyn, is that thanks to modern research methods and facilities, this research should be extremely safe - and urgently needed.

    Ron Trewyn says the NBAF will provide a modern and secure laboratory environment for protecting America's farm animals and food supply. The facility will be built in accordance with the highest safety standards that have kept tens of millions of residents safe in places where labs studying diseases already exist.

    "That's right: Federal labs in the middle of Frederick, Md., and Atlanta, Ga., have worked on the most dangerous human diseases for decades. Not a single community outbreak has occurred in these cities.
    <TABLE id=quote style="FLOAT: right" cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=200 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD><HR class=line1>*
    "Protecting animals and people from disease -- making communities more secure and safe -- is the goal" </TD></TR><TR><TD>K-State University researcher, Ron Trewyn
    <HR class=line2></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    "In addition, a lab in Winnipeg, Canada, studies the highly contagious foot-and-mouth disease virus just across the border from North Dakota. Foot-and-mouth disease has not spread to livestock outside that facility."

    The great news, he says is that modern biocontainment technology has eliminated the need for locating animal disease research on an island, as was done decades ago at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, a few miles off the coast of New York.

    "This brings us to the issue facing us today. We know our nation needs to significantly upgrade its capacity to prevent disease outbreaks in animals, yet the half-century old Plum Island Animal Disease Center is outdated and has limited capacity. It simply doesn't have the research or diagnostic capabilities needed to address animal diseases that could be introduced into the U.S., which is why an advanced facility on the mainland - the NBAF - is now on the slate."

    Two years ago, the federal government asked communities with established animal research programs to step forward. Last summer, in recognition of our state's expertise, a site on Kansas State University's campus made the short list of potential places for the NBAF. Other sites are in Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi and Texas, all of which have prompted questions about bringing animal disease research to areas near livestock.

    Ron Trewyn says that the fact is that research at the NBAF will protect those very animals. That's the purpose of the NBAF - to develop vaccines and other countermeasures to animal diseases that threaten animal health, the nation's food supply, the U.S. economy and the health of the American public.

    "At the moment, our country does not have sufficient facilities to conduct research on many of the most devastating foreign animal diseases, some of which pose health risks to people as well. Thus, required vaccines cannot be produced in a timely fashion, and solutions to potential human health threats cannot be developed."

    A decision to build the NBAF in an isolated location - away from animals and people -- would significantly increase the cost of building, maintaining and operating the lab, and would continue to limit the availability of researchers willing to do this important work – and there's no need to do so.

    "When you marry state-of-the-art biocontainment structures, solid physical security and technological know-how with proven safety protocols and personal protection, research on animal and human diseases can be conducted safely in facilities located near animals and people. Protecting animals and people from disease -- making communities more secure and safe -- is the goal, and it is a challenge our country is ready and able to undertake" says Ron Trewyn.

  • #2
    Re: Disease Lab: Securing Safety in the Heartland (US)

    ""When you marry state-of-the-art biocontainment structures, solid physical security and technological know-how with proven safety protocols and personal protection, research on animal and human diseases can be conducted safely in facilities located near animals and people."

    But prudence teach us that is much better locate such a facility in an deserted, or much more isolated location.

    In that case, an biological incident don't necessary propagate itself by animal, or human vectors infected from the near outside perimeter of the facility to unknown rings, like it can be when it is located in urban areas, or nearby farms areas (like we can see from history notes).


    • #3
      Re: Disease Lab: Securing Safety in the Heartland (US)

      UK thinkings:

      Fears over London disease lab
      by Richard Moriarty
      Wednesday, 23 April 2008

      Scientists issued a major safety alert today over plans to build a £500m research laboratory into deadly diseases such as Ebola and Avian flu in the heart of London.

      The UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation is to be built behind St Pancras station in Kings Cross, despite fears that it will become a target for terrorists.

      The project, backed by Gordon Brown, will allow leading health experts to work on cures for some of the world’s biggest killers including cancer, malaria, avian flu, and other tropical diseases.

      But opponents of the proposals fear building it in the capital could put thousands of workers and residents in the area at risk if there was a breach of bio-security.

      Last year’s foot and mouth outbreak occurred after procedures were not correctly followed at the Pirbright Laboratory in Surrey.

      The new lab will replace the National Institute of Medical Research in Mill Hill.

      Cambridge University malaria researcher Dr Ellen Nisbet warned: "Accidents happen. It doesn't matter if you are driving a car or working in a lab, one day something will happen. If an accident does happen, it could be catastrophic. You just have to make sure it does not happen or locate the lab in an area where it is not so catastrophic if it does happen."

      And Hendon MP Andrew Dismore said: “If there was a breach of security at Mill Hill it would be nasty but not nearly as nasty as Kings Cross. We should not be moving it to central London.”

      A planning application is expected to be lodged with Camden Council early next year for the centre, which could be operational by 2013.

      A spokeswoman for the project said regulations surrounding the design and build of laboratories were “stringent”.

      She said: The very location of this site is why it has been selected – because it is right next to many of the leading medical, research and academic institutions in the UK, who can share ideas, innovations and science.

      “The Regulations for containment facilities are very stringent and if any level of containment is proposed here then the relevant statutory authorities will need to be satisfied that every level of safety and security is to be provided.”

      The project is a partnership between the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK and University College London.