The Role of a National Biocontainment Laboratory in Emergencies

James W. Le Duc, Thomas G. Ksiazek

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Over a decade ago, the National Institutes of Health awarded partial support for the construction and operation of 2 National Biocontainment Laboratories, with the condition that they would be available to assist in the event of public health emergencies- A lthough how a biocontainment facility located on an academic campus might contribute was not defined. Here we offer examples of how one of these laboratories has contributed to a coordinated response to 2 recent international public health emergencies. Essential assets for success include highly trained and experienced staff, access to reference pathogens and reagents, cutting-edge knowledge of the field, appropriate biocontainment facilities, robust biosafety and biosecurity programs, and availability of modern instrumentation. The ability to marry the strengths of academia in basic and applied research with access to appropriate biocontainment facilities while drawing on a highly skilled cadre of experienced experts has proven extremely valuable in the response to recent national emergencies and will continue to do so in the future. Areas where additional planning and preparation are needed have also been identified through these experiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-348
Number of pages4
JournalHealth Security
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Safety Research
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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