The only Biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) laboratory under the Department of Defense, safety requirements are extensive and complex. Double Door airlocks, specialized filtration systems, fumigation chambers, to name a few, are part of the complex safety measures taken at this facility. The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) researchers, have handled numerous deadly microbes in hopes to find a cure or a vaccine for diseases or poisons such as : Anthrax, Ebola, and monkeypox.
USAMRIID began in the 1950s when Abram Bensen was appointed
as medical liaison to the US Armies Biological Warfare Laboratories. In 1956,
one of the first major jobs was to oversee volunteers who exposed themselves to
a deadly strain of bacteria causing Q fever. In the 1970’s research of Coxiella
burneti strain (causes Q fever) had showed promise and now the employees were
researching other various exotic diseases as well. In 1978, the instituted assisted with the humanitarian
efforts in Egypt when a severe outbreak of Rift Valley fever broke out there
for the first time.
Over the next many years, the institute would learn, grow
and develop. From a simple study beginning, to world efforts and deadly disease
vaccines, the USMRIID would make an impact on the world. In August 2009, groundbreaking began on a new
state of the art 835,000 square foot complex.