Compliance

  • The Evolving Role of Biocontainment Facilities in Response to COVID-19

    How Funding and Urgency Are Changing the Research Landscape in a Post-Pandemic World

    Published 11-11-2020

    The unprecedented health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is driving many institutions to increase investment in new biocontainment facilities or rapidly pivot to upgrade and repurpose existing containment spaces in an urgent attempt to respond to the crisis. Hundreds of organizations nationwide began applying for grants after the National Institutes for Health (NIH) received $3.6 billion in funding dedicated to COVID-19 research as part of an emergency stimulus bill passed earlier this year. The NIH now has until 2024 to release the funds. Additionally, private donors, non-governmental organizations, and other entities worldwide are providing billions in funding for development of testing and vaccine programs. This surge of financing is expected to fuel a growth in the creation of new biocontainment spaces in the near future and long term. Since designing, building, and commissioning new biocontainment labs is an expensive and time-consuming process, some institutions are electing to upgrade existing BSL-2 facilities to make them BSL-3, while others are choosing to move existing research programs to make room for new pandemic-related initiatives.