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April 01, 2020

Maryland lawmakers applaud CDC’s decision to reopen Fort Detrick facility

Credit: Homeland Preparedness News, Dave Kovaleski

Federal lawmakers in Maryland commended the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for its move to return the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick to full operational capacity.

The USAMRIID will now resume conducting its full scope of research on infectious diseases.

The facility has served as the Department of Defense (DoD)’s lead laboratory for medical biological defense research. Research conducted at USAMRIID leads to therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics, and information that benefit both military personnel and civilians.

Last summer, USAMRIID was shut down by the federal government as CDC inspectors identified several deviations in the institute’s Standard Operating Procedures that are designed to safeguard laboratory workers. Subsequently, the CDC served USAMRIID with a cease and desist order after finding that the institute did not have “sufficient systems in place to decontaminate wastewater,” according to the CDC’s statement.

The facility partially reopened in November.

“USAMRIID conducts vital research on the spread and containment of infectious diseases. As we continue to battle the coronavirus outbreak, ensuring their ability to work at full capacity is more important now than ever. We fought hard to restore funding withheld from USAMRIID by the Defense Department and to ensure they had the resources necessary to receive CDC approval and get back up to full operational status. We will continue working to support USAMRIID’s crucial mission,” U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) said of the reopening.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), along with U.S. Reps. David Trone (D-MD) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD) also applauded the CDC decision to return the facility to full operational capacity.

“The capabilities of USAMRIID are unique, and their work has long supported our national security and public health. During the current COVID-19 outbreak, it is a relief to have USAMRIID fully operational, and it should quickly receive the funding and resources needed to tackle COVID-19 and other threats to our nation,” Cardin said.