Whole vials of virulent strains of ebola have gone missing, and now are in the hands of bioterrorist organizations. Laboratory mice, now infected with drug-resistant pneumonia, have escaped through air ducts and are injecting it into a city’s water supply. A lab tech’s protective gear snags on an inappropriately placed corner. The suit is breached and the man inside has been compromised with a deadly form of the flu. We need custom designed labs now more than ever.
It’s no longer science fiction. These scenarios are now possible thanks to the precipitous rise of the virulent scourge known as superbugs. Now, business owners across the country are rethinking lab design, knowing that a poorly designed lab could spell doom for researchers, their cities, countries, and even the world as we know it.
Think we’re being hyperbolic? Well, the country’s foremost public health agency, Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia would disagree. Only THIRTEEN years after they built one of the world’s most state-of-the-art American-made labs, they’re now constructing a new, full-throttle high containment lab.
This one comes with a price tag of $400 million.
The folks who constructed the original lab, HDR Inc. had to eat a little humble pie this week, as they had previously predicted their custom lab would serve the CDC for at least 50 years. But what they couldn’t have predicted back in the early 2000s was just how quickly these viruses would mutate. A shower failure, and a lower lab failure about ten years ago also made the higher-ups in Washington a little queasy. No doubt a factor in why they’re doubling what they’re spending on the new science lab.
The new heavy cost comes with the hope that top-dollar quality lab furnishings and brilliant design will meet the protocol demands of handling deadly new forms of Influenza, as well as smallpox, Zika, Ebola, and anything else an evil scientist might dream up. Everything from casework to lab tables to packing tables and benches, will need to be put in just the right place, covered in the right epoxy, and designed as carefully as you might hold a vial of Ebola yourself (hint: that’s very carefully).
The CDC isn’t alone in the need to create lab spaces that take into account the dangers of new and virulent diseases. Medical, food, and even some industrial locations will now need custom-designed labs to account for deadly bacteria and viruses.
While the CDC’s efforts amounts to one of the biggest governmental re-dos in United States history, at OnePointe, we say we get it done the right way, first, and then you don’t need to worry so much.
But, in fairness, we don’t blame the CDC for redoing the lab.
Like the chemists always say in those B-list sci-fi flicks: it’s better to be safe than sorry.