New bioterror lab will target infectious disease therapies

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A new, $50 million biomedical research lab has been completed at George Mason University near Washington D.C. and is being ramped up to study new therapies for infectious diseases--including a range of potential bioterror weapons.

Once the 52,000-square-foot facility is licensed and fully operational in a few months, 50 people will be on site to handle the R&D work on infectious diseases as well as anthrax, plague, influenza and Rift Valley fever. It's one of 13 biocontainment facilities that have been built with federal funds, and it features some state-of-the-art security systems as well as an air purification system that is designed to filter out any pathogens.

"This is groundbreaking work we will be doing," lab director Charles Bailey tells the Washington Post. "We feel certain that our BRL-based research will lead to medical breakthroughs that will ultimately help protect the nation from bioterrorism and outbreaks of infectious disease."

- here's the story from the Washington Post

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