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The Galveston National Laboratory, or National Biocontainment Laboratory, is a sophisticated biomedical research facility where scientists will safely study infectious agents that either pose threats as naturally emerging diseases or are potential bioweapons. Constructed primarily with NIH funds, the two National Biocontainment Laboratories will house scientific research projects to develop and assess countermeasures (including new vaccines or therapeutics) to diagnose, prevent or effectively treat the infections these agents cause. The Galveston National Laboratory will include research space designated at biosafety levels 2, 3 and 4.
(CNN) — A laboratory located in Galveston, Texas, and said to contain dangerous biological agents took measures Friday to secure the pathogens in the event of a strike by Hurricane Ike, officials said.
The Web site for the University of Texas Medical Branch/Galveston National Labs was completed and opened just recently.
It is one of the country’s five Level-IV biosafety laboratories, the highest level. Such laboratories typically handle pathogens like smallpox, tularemia and anthrax to develop vaccines and antidotes.
The laboratory followed protocols for shutting, said Gretchen Michael, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services, citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
She said that, for security reasons, she would not detail the procedures or describe the agents.
But Andrew Barlow, a spokesman for Governor Perry, said all the pathogens were destroyed before the staff evacuated.
Types of pathogens to be studied: Anthrax, plague, hemorrhagic fevers (such as Ebola), typhus, West Nile virus, influenza, drug-resistant tuberculosis, among others.
Biosafety Level 4 is required for work with dangerous and exotic agents that pose a high individual risk of aerosol-transmitted laboratory infections and life-threatening disease.