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Anonymous Coward
User ID: 492320
United States
09/12/2008 10:45 PM
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The University of Texas Medical Branch, Center for Biodefence and Emerging Infectious Diseases is located in Galveston Texas!! Has this been brought up and what are your thoughts? After watching the weather broadcasts on the weather channel, etc. this kinda freaks me out a little bit.

[link to www.utmb.edu]

"Location: Galveston, Texas
Owner: The University of Texas Medical Branch
Type of Project: Three-story, high-containment research addition to an existing building
Architect: B2HK
General contractor: Vaughn Construction
Size: 12,000 gross square feet
Cost: $15.5 million
Construction time: Physical construction began in April 2002 and was completed in 2003
Dedication: November 17, 2003

Over the past decade, The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) has developed a strong program in infectious disease research. Many UTMB faculty have research interests in emerging infectious diseases and biodefense. Consequently, UTMB is in the position of having an internationally recognized group of emerging infectious disease investigators at a time when this subject is of critical public health importance and interest. For UTMB to continue making important discoveries on how to combat some of the most deadly diseases known to man and to serve as a key component in the nation’s fight against bioterrorism, the university in 1997 decided to construct a Biosafety Level 4 (BSL4) laboratory facility to safely handle and maintain infectious agents.

BSL4 is the highest biosafety rating for laboratories dealing with highly contagious organisms. BSL4 laboratories are designed to prevent microbes from being released into the environment and to provide maximum safety for the researchers inside. BSL4 labs require some of the most sophisticated architectural, engineering and construction techniques to ensure the safety of both the scientists inside and the surrounding community. As the first full-sized facility of its kind in the nation to be located on a university campus, UTMB’s BSL4 facility project entailed a three-story addition to an existing university building, as well as some renovation work within the existing building infrastructure to accommodate the addition. The combination of new work and renovation work resulted in an additional 12,000 gross square feet of space.

Often likened to a submarine encased inside a giant bank vault, UTMB’s BSL4 lab features 2,000 square feet of dedicated research space. The remaining 10,000 square feet of the facility contains support equipment designed to capture and destroy any microbes before they can exit the structure.

While a BSL4 may look like an ordinary building from the outside, the building itself is anything but ordinary. BSL4 design features demand that:

All seams, joints and doors are sealed to make the building airtight. Windows cannot be opened, and air does not flow in or out under the doors.
Air is pumped in and out of the building through a sophisticated filtration system to catch even the tiniest microscopic particles, including bacteria and viruses.
All air ducts are welded stainless steel and rigorously tested to ensure they are airtight.
The laboratories are surrounded by “buffer” corridors to help protect them in the event of an accident or attack.
Airlocks, fumigation chambers, disinfectant “dunk tanks” and waste water treatment systems ensure that absolutely everything that leaves the lab is decontaminated.
Interior safety features include:
Entries and exits with double-door airlocks.
Regularly decontaminated work surfaces.
Solid and liquid waste decontamination by heat sterilization, gaseous sterilization, or liquid disinfection. Before it leaves the facility, all waste meets or surpasses the environmental standards of the local community.
Airtight, pressurized suits with dedicated life-support systems that include redundant breathing air compressors, alarms and emergency backup air tanks, as well as a HEPA air filtration system.
Work stations (called biosafety cabinets) that serve as additional barriers. With their own inward-directed and HEPA-filtered air systems, these cabinets are designed to prevent potentially dangerous microbes from escaping.
Construction of UTMB’s BSL4 laboratory was largely funded by a grant from The Sealy & Smith Foundation of Galveston, a philanthropy solely dedicated to benefiting UTMB, with additional support for the facility from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), among other sources. Dr. John Stobo, president of UTMB, said that the financial support the university has received from The Sealy & Smith Foundation and the federal government to build a maximum containment facility at UTMB is much appreciated and “a great tribute to the remarkable work being done here by scientists in the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Tropical Diseases and to the scientific promise of collaborations with scientists from other disciplines.” He added: “A top virologist was quoted several years ago in Science magazine as saying that UTMB ‘may well become the center for tropical medicine in the world.’ Having the United States’ first BSL4 laboratory on a university campus tends to support that prophecy.”

The BSL4 laboratory was formally dedicated on November 17, 2003, and was named the Robert E. Shope, MD, Laboratory in honor of Dr. Shope, a world-renown virologist who was a member of the UTMB faculty until his death in early 2004.

Here's another list for reference:
[link to www.upmc-biosecurity.org]

User ID: 433558
United States
09/12/2008 10:48 PM
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Salt water cleans, but not great for the other floors.
Your Focus Determines Your Reality.