(Fort Detrick, Md.) – Independent experts with the National Research Council will meet March 21 at 7 p.m. at the Holiday Inn and Conference Center in Frederick, Md., to review the proposed site-specific risk assessment approach for the planned Medical Countermeasures Test and Evaluation Facility at Fort Detrick, Md. The public is invited to comment.
The proposed MCMT&E Facility will be a dedicated animal test and evaluation facility for biodefense and infectious disease medical countermeasures development. Construction on the proposed $584 million, 492,000-square-foot facility will begin in 2013. It is scheduled to open 2018 and is expected to employ 322 to 364 highly trained staff.
MCMs consist of vaccines and drugs used to prevent or treat an infectious disease. The proposed MCMT&E Facility would provide capacity to help close the research gap and meet the national demand to conduct animal T&E of MCMs in high- or maximum-containment laboratories.
“The need for this capability had been recognized since 2001 and was confirmed in two separate requirements studies completed in 2007 and 2009,” said Dr. George Ludwig, Deputy Principal Assistant for Research and Technology for the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. “The Facility will allow us to evaluate the effectiveness of vaccines and drugs against infectious diseases that can’t be tested using traditional approaches that use human volunteer subjects.
"On March 21, Command representatives will present the proposed methods for conducting MCMT&E risk assessment to the NRC committee,” explained Dr. Ludwig. “The independent committee will carefully review the approach and provide a report that will assist the Command in completing the most complete Environmental Impact Statement possible. A new EIS is required because of proposed changes in sizing and location of the facility since the original EIS was completed in 2006.”