The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has restored a military laboratory on Fort Detrick to full capacity, approximately eight months after shutting down research in its top laboratories.
The CDC approved U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases return to full capacity, allowing it to conduct its full scope of work on infectious diseases, according to a press release from Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Reps. David Trone and Jamie Raskin.
“USAMRIID conducts vital research on the spread and containment of infectious diseases. As we continue to battle the coronavirus outbreak, ensuring their ability to work at full capacity is more important now than ever,” Van Hollen said in the release. “We fought hard to ensure USAMRIID had the resources necessary to receive CDC approval and get back up to full operational capacity. We will continue working to support funding for USAMRIID to carry out its crucial mission.”
In July, the CDC issued a cease and desist order for work in biosafety level 3 and 4 laboratories, where researchers handle dangerous pathogens like Ebola and the bacteria causing the plague. The order came after the CDC noted lapses in biosafety protocols during a site visit.
The two breaches reported by USAMRIID to the CDC demonstrated a failure of the Army laboratory to “implement and maintain containment procedures sufficient to contain select agents or toxins” that were made by operations in the biosafety level 3 and 4 laboratories, according to a report obtained last year by The Frederick News-Post.
The CDC revisited USAMRIID multiple times since July, allowing the laboratory to resume partial operations in November. Each follow-up visit allowed a little more work.