National Research Council discusses risk assessment for Fort Detrick bio-facility

The National Research Council met Monday to discuss risk assessment plans for the proposed Medical Countermeasures Test and Evaluation Facility that is planned for construction at Fort Detrick near Frederick, Md., in 2014.
The Army is attempting to find and minimize the dangers the facility might pose to the surrounding areas, the Frederick News Post reports. There will be at least six pathogens used at the facility, including anthrax, Marburg, brucellosis, plague, Ebola and several forms of equine encephalitis.
BSA Environmental Services, the risk assessment contractors for the new lab, have yet to create an analysis of the building's ability to withstand natural disasters, citing that they would have to wait until the building design is approved to make an assessment. The BSA team will use a work plan to determine the possible pathways a disease could use to spread to laboratory or community members.
Possible methods of exposure would include ingestion, skin disease, animal bites, inhalation or contact with infected air, water, food or soil.
Barbara Reynolds of BSA Environmental Services said that the plans created now will be implemented by internal assessment teams at the facility in the future.
"Before you crack a vial, that agent goes to your biosafety committee for assessment of risk," Reynolds said, according to the Frederick News Post.
BSA expects the risk assessment plan to be completed by October.