DTRA announces contract to improve Cambodian biosecurity

The U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency announced a sole source contract last week with the Diagnostic Microbiology Development Program, a non-profit organization with the mission of improving capabilities in Cambodian microbiologic laboratories.

The contract is the first Cooperative Biological Engagement Program award in Cambodia. The CBEP is part of the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, Global Biodefense reports.

The CBEP award is considered a valuable low-cost opportunity to promote best practices for biosecurity and biosafety at the international level.

The 12-month contract, which is worth approximately $720,000, will provide hair sheep as a source of blood for sustainable and quality-controlled blood agar to detect select agents and emerging microbiologic pathogens. The award will provide associated training and upgrades to facilitate the maintenance of the blood agar source and to improve pathogen identification and other capabilities at the laboratories.

"The sustainable, standardized, and quality controlled blood supply resulting from this effort will significantly enhance the subject laboratories' ability to identify pathogens and, consequently, to detect, diagnose, and report endemic, man-made or especially dangerous pathogens, bio-terror attacks, and potential pandemics," the DTRA said, according to Global Biodefense .

The DMDP builds capacity for reliable infectious disease diagnosis by strengthening the technical capabilities and infrastructure of clinical microbiologists and technicians in resource-poor countries. The DMDP previously worked with other U.S. agencies including the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences, NAMRU-2 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Global Biodefense reports.