SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2016

Canada hands over biological containment lab to Caribbean Health Agency

The Government of Canada officially handed over a new biological containment laboratory to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) on Tuesday.

The Biosafety Level 3 facility will provide new capabilities for rapidly detecting and responding to disease outbreaks.

Manufactured by Germfree and provided in cooperation with the Pan American Health Organization (PAGO)/World Health Organization (WHO), the facility is the first of its kind in the Caribbean region.

"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," Gerard Latulippe, the high commissioner for Canada to Trinidad & Tobago, said. "As underscored by ongoing outbreaks of diseases such as the Chikungunya here in the Caribbean, as well as Ebola in West Africa, and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in the Middle East, isolated disease threats can very quickly become regional or global menaces, presenting serious threats to the health, safety and security of the people of the world."

The lab will be able to rapidly identify samples of such diseases as yellow fever, West Nile virus, rabies, hantavirus, anthrax, drug resistant MTB and emerging infectious diseases with epidemic potential. It will also be able to handle other biological-risk agents and materials of unknown origin.