biosafety level 4

A biosafety Level 4 laboratory is the highest level of biocontainment?. Any such lab is part of critical infrastructure?. A biosafety level 3? lab is also part of such infrastructure and is usually located in a research hospital? which is itself also a critical facility.

only one in Canada

The only such lab in Canada is in the Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health? jointly operated by Health Canada? and Agriculture Canada?. It "is located just blocks from downtown Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba’s health sciences campus. It is in an older part of the city of 660,000 people, surrounded by a mixture of residential, commercial and industrial neighborhoods." - UC Davis news item, 2003(external link).

Despite this central location, it is believed that this centre is safe for those around it.

The lab itself is called the National Microbiology Laboratory?. It "allows scientists and researchers to work safely with the most serious human and animal pathogens and diseases. These could be, for example, hantavirus?, hepatitis?, influenza virus?es, and carry out research and diagnostic programs with some of the most virulent strains of viral haemorrhagic fever?s such as the Ebola virus?, Marburg virus? and Lassa Fever?." - 2001 press release(external link)

It is the first such laboratory in the world to have research and diagnostic programs for both human and animal diseases.

extreme security protocols

In such a lab the "researchers clothed in protective "moon suits" can safely work with the most serious viral and bacterial diseases. The centre is equipped with a state-of-the-art ventilation system that processes air through multiple filters before it is released and a waste-treatment plant that "cooks" liquid waste from the containment laboratory at extreme temperatures before it is mixed with common liquid waste from the facility and added to the city sewer system."

"The center also has sophisticated security protocol?s. All employees have level-two federal security clearance?s and must pass through several security check?s before entering the research? and diagnostic lab?s." The RCMP? and CSIS? were part of the design of these protocols.

integrated with municipal emergency services

"There is so much redundancy, with reference to safety, built into this particular facility, that it’s not foolproof, but almost," claims Winnipeg Fire Chief Chandler. He and Police Capt. Spaur connected with their counterparts in the Winnipeg fire and police departments, consulting on emergency service?s issues." See municipal role in emergency response, first responder? and FCM infra for more details on this.

two more in the US, a third proposed

The United States currently has two comparable facilities at the CDC? - US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? in Atlanta, Ga., and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Frederick, Md..

Smaller Biosafety Level 4 labs are located in San Antonio, Texas; Bethesda, Md.; and at Georgia State University in Atlanta. New Biosafety Level 4 labs are being developed in Galveston, Texas, and Hamilton, Mont.

One has also been proposed for UC Davis in California, which submitted a Feb. 10, 2003 proposal on behalf of UC to the US National Institutes of Health? for federal funds to build a US$200 million national biocontainment laboratory on the Davis campus, similar to the Winnipeg facility.

ten years to build

It took approximately ten years to build the Winnipeg facility. Accordingly it is quite difficult to plan and replace any such facility.

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