April 16, 2020 -- The Galveston National Laboratory, located on the campus of the University of Texas Medical Branch, is one of two university-based maximum containment (BSL-4) laboratories in the U.S. focused on the study of highly infectious diseases and the development of medical countermeasures.
The GNL and UTMB have one of the country’s most active programs to safely and securely study emerging and re-emerging high consequence pathogens and collaborate with scientists around the world.
The lab is part of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Biodefense Laboratory Network, and as part of its mission assists the U.S. in the event of a national emergency. Currently the lab is focused on diagnostic, and vaccine development for COVID-19, as well as testing of existing and new antiviral and antibody therapies.
According to Dr. James Le Duc, Director of the Galveston National Lab, “As a university-based lab, training the next generation of scientists to work safely and securely in high containment facilities to study dangerous pathogens and conduct pre-clinical studies is a major mission.
Through our Biosafety Training Center, UTMB has provided laboratory safety and security training for scientists and operations personnel in more than 45 countries, including China. The relationship with Wuhan Institute of Virology and the GNL dates back to 2013 and has been facilitated through an ongoing dialogue co-sponsored by the Chinese Academies of Science and U.S. National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, with cooperation from the Chinese CDC and others.
In recent years, we have provided training to scientists, biosafety and engineering professionals, including many from China.
Academic research is a global pursuit, and collaboration, cooperation and support has always been the process for quickly developing countermeasures against the world’s most dangerous public health threats.”