May 20, 2014 — ‘New Facility to Detect and Respond to Outbreaks of Infectious Disease’
‘Advanced Disease Surveillance: Regional Lab Will Boost Global Biological Security’

For additional information about this news release please contact: Craig Landy:
+1 386-265-4300 Direct: +1 312-238-9785 +1 386-316-2799

Organizations Participating In This Initiative

The BSL-3 lab was funded the government of Canada and is an initiative of The
Global Partnership Program:
Biological Security – Global Partnership Program (GPP) – Department Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada: GPP “works to prevent terrorists and states of concern from acquiring or developing biological weapons and related materials, equipment, and technology.” Key roles of the program include working to: “Detect and report deliberately caused disease by strengthening regional and subregional disease surveillance and detection networks, supporting the gathering of epidemic intelligence, broadening international disease reporting networks…”

The facility will be operated by CARPHA:
The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA): CARPHA is the new single regional public health agency for the Caribbean. The BSL-3 Lab, the first of its kind in the region, will be run by CARPHA. Dr. C. James Hospedales is the Executive Director of the Agency.

The BSL-3 laboratory was manufactured and installed by Germfree:
Germfree Labs: Established in 1962, Germfree is the only company that designs, engineers and manufacturers all the critical primary and secondary bio-containment equipment for modular facilities. Germfree has extensive experience in delivering modular biological containment labs to the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa.

This initiative will be run in cooperation with PAHO:
The Pan American Health Organization: PAHO is the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO)

Ministry of Health, Trinidad and Tobago: Dr. Fuad Khan is the Minister of Health.
High Commission of Canada to Trinidad and Tobago: His Excellency Gérard Latulippe is the High Commissioner.

Additional Remarks From Officials and Dignitaries
Involved with This Initiative

“In our modern age where global travel is routine and disease knows no boundaries a well-equipped safe and secure biological laboratory is an essential tool in the fight against infectious disease.”
— Gérard Latulippe, High Commissioner for Canada to Trinidad & Tobago

Remarks About Emerging Diseases:
As underscored by ongoing outbreaks of disease such as the Chikungunya here the Caribbean as well as Ebola in West Africa and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in the Middle East [MERS] isolated disease threat can very quickly become regional or global menace presenting serious threats to the health safety and security of the people of the world. Strengthening health security is a critical important complex issue that requires concerted efforts around the world and across many sectors. No country can insure it’s own health and security through national measures alone.
— Gérard Latulippe, High Commissioner for Canada to Trinidad & Tobago

“Currently there are several public health events of international concern reported elsewhere and in our region. Outbreaks of wild Polio in ten countries in Africa and Asia, MERS Coronavirus cases over the last two years effecting a few Middle Eastern countries and reported cases in the UK and the US, Chikungunya virus in the Caribbean, Ebola in the Western African countries, Rabies outbreaks in five countries in the Americas, Cholera in Haiti, the Dominican Republic and other countries in the region. Therefore having proper laboratory support and services in this regard would be very paramount.”
— Dr. Yitades Gebre, Advisor, Family Health and Disease Management, WHO / PAHO

Remarks About The Intersection Of Bioterrorism And Disease:
High Commissioner Latulippe explains the concept of the ‘health-security interface’, where shared surveillance infrastructure are complementary in global efforts to monitor and prevent both natural epidemics and deliberate biological threats.

“A strong global partnership is required at the ‘health-security interface’, that broad area that exists between natural and deliberate disease, where the interests and activities of two very different sectors intersect and align. Such multi-sectoral cooperation is rooted in the mutual recognition that though the motivations may be very different – combatting natural disease versus preventing or detecting deliberate biological attacks – the tools, infrastructure and capacities required to accomplish both health and security objectives is the same.”

“Sadly, we know that terrorist and other criminal groups remain committed to acquiring biological and other weapons or materials of mass destruction in order to launch devastating attacks. No country or region, irrespective of its size or location, is immune to these challenges.”
— Gérard Latulippe, High Commissioner for Canada to Trinidad & Tobago

Remarks About the Laboratory and Its Role in Global Public Health and Biosecurity:
“This a strategic public health resource for the Americas and for the world.”
— Dr. C. James Hospedales, Executive Director, Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA)

“The laboratory known as a biological safety level 3 facility will strengthen CARPHA’s capacity to detect diagnose and respond to infectious disease outbreaks across the region, whether they be naturally occurring or deliberately caused.”
“It is set up to process and rapidly identify, in a safe and secure environment, samples suspected for a diverse range of diseases – including Yellow fever, West Nile virus, Rabies, Hantavirus, Anthrax, drug resistant MTB and emerging infectious diseases with epidemic potential. The facility also provides advanced primary and secondary containment systems required to handle other biological-risk agents and materials of unknown origin, including potential bioterrorism agents.”
— Gérard Latulippe, High Commissioner for Canada to Trinidad & Tobago

“This first class lab will enable us to be even better prepared for any emergencies that can be caused by pathogenic agents through early detection and enhanced response capabilities.”
— Dr. Fuad Khan, Minister of Health, Trinidad and Tobago

“Let me assure you that this facility – which was designed and manufactured by Germfree, a US company that has extensive experience providing similar bio-containment facilities around the world was built in strict accordance with international standards to ensure the safety and security of CARPHA personnel, the local population and the environment.”
— Gérard Latulippe, High Commissioner for Canada to Trinidad & Tobago

“When we were approached by Canada’s Global Partnership program we were excited to collaborate with their experts in bio-containment engineering and biosecurity to develop a BSL-3 Laboratory for CARPHA. We were challenged to be creative and innovative in our approach to this lab. Energy savings and sustainability were critical goals for this project. We had to rethink how a BSL-3 lab is built. Working with Canada’s biocontainment experts, we made every component energy efficient. Bioseals create a barrier for heat generating equipment. HVAC and containment controls sense and adjust for personnel occupancy and overall efficiency is also monitored remotely. We achieved a 41% reduction of energy consumption by implementing strategies that are unprecedented for a BSL-3 compliant laboratory”
— Jeff Serle, Germfree Labs, General Manager (U.S. Manufacturer of the Lab)

Remarks About the Global Role of Regional Labs:
Dr. Hospedales explains the precedent for regional labs playing a critical role in global public health:

“These Facilities here have discovered more than twenty viruses that were not known to science before. These are the labs that led the charge; we were the first region in the world to eliminate Measles in 1991. In 1992 and 1993 we had friends and colleagues from the CDC and Europe, France and England, coming to say ‘How did you do it?’ And that led to the Americas eliminating Measles.”
— Dr. C. James Hospedales, Executive Director, Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA)

Media contact for this news release: Craig Landy:
+1 386-265-4300 Direct: +1 312-238-9785 +1 386-316-2799

Full remarks from the laboratory handover event are available here:

May 20, 2014 — ‘New Facility to Detect and Respond to Outbreaks of Infectious Disease’
‘Advanced Disease Surveillance: Regional Lab Will Boost Global Biological Security’

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