Private companies, non-profits, academic institutions as well as state, local, and federal agencies maintain high-containment facilities. The Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) operate the main government facilities, sometimes through contracts with private organizations. DOD operates the United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID).2 DHS operates the new National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) through a contract with Battelle National Biodefense Institute and maintains the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, which is scheduled to be replaced eventually by the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) in Manhattan, Kansas.3 HHS funds multiple BSL-3 facilities at the NIH and BSL-4 facilities at the CDC. In addition, HHS, through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), partially funded construction of the Galveston and Boston University National Laboratories (BSL-4) and 13 BSL-3 Regional Biocontainment Laboratories (Table E9-3).4 These laboratories are distributed across the United States to conduct research and assist with public health efforts during emergencies. Additionally, HHS funds the Laboratory Response Network (LRN) that includes over 140 Reference Laboratories that have BSL-3 capabilities and can perform confirmatory testing.5 LRN Reference Laboratories include state and local public health labs as well as military, federal, and international (i.e., Canada, Australia, and United Kingdom) facilities.

Table E9-3 Regional Biocontainment Laboratories (RBL).

Laboratory Location
Tufts Regional Biosafety Laboratory North Grafton, MA
Regional Biocontainment Laboratory at Biomedical Science Tower 3 Pittsburgh, PA
Center for Predictive Medicine Louisville, KY
Colorado State University Regional Biocontainment Laboratory Ft. Collins, CO
George Mason University RBL Manassas, VA
Global Health Research Building Durham, NC
Howard T Ricketts Laboratory RBL Chicago, Il
Pacific RBL (under construction) Honolulu, HI
Southeast Biosafety Laboratory Birmingham, AL
Tulane National Primate Research Center Covington, LA
University of Missouri- Columbia RBL Columbia, MO
University of Tennessee RBL Memphis, TN
New Jersey Medical School Center for Infectious Disease Research RBL Newark, NJ

SOURCE: Kaiser, 2011 and Accessed October 6, 2011.

2. What government organizations in the United States are responsible for oversight, safety, and security of high-containment biological (high BSL) laboratories?

No single government entity has total responsibility for the safety and security of high-containment laboratories (United States GAO, 2007; see page 4). Instead, oversight is provided by multiple organizations under a number of regulatory frameworks, including:


2 To learn more about USAMRIID, see: Accessed October 6, 2011.

3 To learn more about NBACC see: To learn more about NBAF see: Accessed October 8, 2011.

4 Available at: Accessed October 6, 2011.

5 See: Accessed October 6, 2011.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement