USAMRIID eases fears over creation of bioweapons

Last Thursday, nine members of the Containment Lab Community Advisory Committee formed by Fort Detrick, the city of Frederick and Frederick county in Maryland, toured the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.

They also met with Army officials in an effort to ease the public's concern over the belief that the aerosolized diseases created at the facility are biological weapons, the Frederick News Post reports.

"Do you have to create an offensive capability to test a defensive measure?" Kim Loll, asked, according to the Frederick News Post.

"I think the community does have the concern of, are they creating weapons so they can test vaccines against them?" Alex Hamill asked, the Frederick News Post reports.

Lisa Hensley, the principal investigator in charge of the viral therapeutics branch, denounced the notion that weapons were being developed at the facility. The tests take place in small chambers only a few cubic feet wide for animal tests, during which they are exposed to a quick spray and the researchers only create a tiny amount they need just before the experiment, she said, the Frederick News Post reports.

During a back-and-forth discourse and a tour of the facility, the committee was walked through all of the safety precautions taken to ensure that the operation at the USAMRIID is disciplined and secure. Most of the documents that prove the lab is safe are not released to the public.

"Well, I'm feeling better already," committee member Ray Hunter said after being walked through the facility, the Frederick News Post reports.