Containment lab at Fort Detrick put on hold

According to a spokesperson for the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command, the construction of a high-level containment laboratory at Fort Detrick near Fredericksburg, Maryland, has been put on hold.

The construction of the 492,000-square-foot Medical Countermeasure Test and Evaluation Facility will be tabled until a study can be conducted for existing lab space throughout the nation. The Fort Detrick facility was set to open in 2018, reports.

The $600 million animal testing laboratory would have tested existing and emerging infectious disease vaccines and other cures on primates. The lab planned to study pathogens such as anthrax, Marburg and Ebola.

" evaluate existing capacity within government, industry, and academic laboratories capable of conducting this test and evaluation work, and to assess the future projected demand for this type of work," Lori Calvillo, a spokesperson for the U.S. Army research division, said, according to

The outcome of the study is expected to be available in a few weeks. The news follows word that President Barack Obama signed a bill to cut federal spending for biological and chemical research from $1.2 billion to $1.14 billion on December 31. The lab is meant to be a part of Fort Detrick's Interagency Biodefense Campus.