Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Aedes Aegypti plus Ebola Equals?

My man RC poses the $64,000 kwestin and simultaneously solves that pandemic preparedness equation as the NYTimes publishes a bold understatement - Bio Lab in Galveston Raises Concerns;
Much of the University of Texas medical school on this island suffered flood damage during Hurricane Ike, except for one gleaming new building, a national biological defense laboratory that will soon house some of the most deadly diseases in the world.

How a laboratory where scientists plan to study viruses like Ebola and Marburg ended up on a barrier island where hurricanes regularly wreak havoc puzzles some environmentalists and community leaders.

“It’s crazy, in my mind,” said Jim Blackburn, an environmental lawyer in Houston. “I just find an amazing willingness among the people on the Texas coast to accept risks that a lot of people in the country would not accept.”

Officials at the laboratory and at the National Institutes of Health, which along with the university is helping to pay for the $174 million building, say it can withstand any storm the Atlantic hurls at it.

Built atop concrete pylons driven 120 feet into the ground, the seven-floor laboratory was designed to stand up to 140-mile-an-hour winds. Its backup generators and high-security laboratories are 30 feet above sea level.

“The entire island can wash away and this is still going to be here,” Dr. James W. LeDuc, the deputy director of the laboratory, said. “With Hurricane Ike, we had no damage. The only evidence the hurricane occurred was water that was blown under one of the doors and a puddle in the lobby.”
The project enjoyed the strong support of three influential Texas Republicans: President Bush, a former Texas governor; Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison; and the former House majority leader, Tom DeLay, whose district includes part of Galveston County. Officials at the National Institutes of Health, however, say the decision to put the lab here was based purely on the merits. It is to open Nov. 11.

'Flying syringe' mosquitos, other ideas get Gates funding
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded 100,000 dollars each on Wednesday to scientists in 22 countries including funding for a Japanese proposal to turn mosquitos into "flying syringes" delivering vaccines. The charitable foundation created by the founder of software giant Microsoft said in a statement that the grants were designed to "explore bold and largely unproven ways to improve global health."

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

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