NBACC given go ahead to operate at fill capacity

The National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center, located at Fort Detrick, Maryland, recently received approval to add 30,000 square feet of laboratory space to be used for research with potentially dangerous biological agents.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture gave the center its accreditation nearly three years after the NBACC was first started. NBACC Lab Director Paul Fitch said the facility is now capable of operating at full capacity, according to

"It changes almost everything," Fitch said, reports.

The change will allow for the expansion of the center's biosafety level 3 labs into the new space. BSL-3 labs are currently sharing BSL-4 space. The expansion is expected to be completed in the Spring, since any move requires careful coordination.

"There's all the safety issues with that, all the science issues with that, making sure things don't mix and cross-react," Fitch said, reports.

The Battelle National Biodefense Institute for the Department of Homeland Security uses the center on behalf of federal law enforcement and other agencies. Several new facilities at the same site are expected to open in the coming years, including new laboratories for the U.S. Army National Institute of Infectious Diseases.