CDC seeks $350M to build new containment laboratory to study deadly pathogens

The CDC is asking Congress for $350 million to replace its aging high containment laboratory, which studies some of the world's deadliest pathogens, according to STAT.

Deadly pathogens, such as smallpox and Ebola, can only be studied in laboratories with the highest biosafety and biosecurity ratings, BSL4. These laboratories require a lot of maintenance and must include numerous special features to ensure the pathogens do not escape.

Its existing facility, which was constructed in 2005, is beginning to show signs of aging and will need to be replaced by 2023.

"The facility has done quite well, but it runs constantly, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year," Inger Damon, MD, PhD, director of the division of high-consequence pathogens and pathology at the CDC, told The Atlanta Business Chronicle. "It is beginning to age and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find parts that are needed for the facility."

To ensure no disruptions in research occur, the CDC is seeking funding for a replacement facility in the proposed budget for fiscal year 2018.

The replacement containment lab would be constructed on a site currently used as a parking facility on the CDC's main campus in Atlanta.

While the proposal is seeking $350 million, more funding will be needed to construct a new parking structure.

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