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and the General Public about the current coronavirus pandemic.

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Welcome to the Galveston National Lab

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The Galveston National Laboratory (GNL) is a sophisticated high containment research facility that serves as a critically important resource in the global fight against infectious diseases. The GNL is located on the campus of the University of Texas Medical Branch and operates under the umbrella of UTMB’s Institute for Human Infections and Immunity.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) provides funding for the BSL4 laboratories and operations at the GNL, and the lab’s top priority is research to develop diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines to combat the most dangerous diseases in the world.

Researchers at the GNL are internationally known for their expertise working with pathogens including Ebola and Marburg, emerging infectious diseases like COVID-19 and MERS, and mosquito borne viruses like Zika and Chikungunya. Research also focuses on understanding transmission and pathogenesis of emerging viruses and developing medical countermeasures for dangerous pathogens that can be weaponized.

The Galveston National Laboratory is home to research that is funded by NIAID, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and other federal agencies, as well as academic partners, private foundations, and the Biopharmaceutical industry.

Hurricane Preparedness - 2021

The Galveston National Laboratory was purpose-built for its location on Galveston Island and was constructed to withstand a Category 5 Hurricane, including storm surge.  Preparations for hurricane season begin late in the spring each year, in advance of the peak period for our region, which is mid-August through September. 

Hurricanes offer one benefit: they take time to travel across the oceans, and science has allowed for relatively accurate predictions of ultimate landfall and impacts.  UTMB and the national lab follow detailed plans for all approaching storms that include ramping down and closing out experiments, decontaminating laboratories, and assembling a multi-disciplinary "stay team" that remains in the facility during a storm to ensure there are no breaches in biocontainment or security.  Two emergency generators  within the facility ensure redundant emergency power availability.  These generators are tested each month to ensure optimal operation in the event of an emergency.

In the event of a storm in Galveston, phone and email communications in and out of the University or national laboratory may be unavailable.  However, personnel tasked with external communications do relocate to locations away from the storm to assist with updates and important information.   In the event of a hurricane, cell phone numbers will be provided here for contact with these individuals. The Media Relations Hotline for UTMB is (409) 772-6397.  

The GNL and COVID-19

Prior to Covid-19, UTMB already had three highly respected coronavirus researchers on staff.  This helped our teams get a jump start on the development of diagnostics, anti-viral treatments and vaccines. UTMB researchers have been involved with both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, as well as several monoclonal antibody treatments and other therapies.  In addition, when troubles arose with the early diagnostic tests, UTMB developed its own and began assisting the State of Texas with Covid tests for patients in nearly every county of the state.

More than a year into the pandemic, UTMB has initiated and successfully delivered on a vigorous vaccination program in line with state and CDC guidelines. Our physicians have learned much about treating patients, and our faculty continues to be involved at the epicenter of all the important medical research.

Since the first discovery of this new virus, UTMB research scientists have:

  • Received more than $45 million in funded research for Covid-19
  • Completed hundreds of important studies safely in our high containment facilities
  • Published important studies and novel research on the disease transmission, pathogenesis, prevention and treatments

For more information on the Galveston National Laboratory, please CONTACT US.