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Ontario level 4 laboratory

Dr R G Marusyk raymond.marusyk at ualberta.ca
Wed Jul 26 10:42:02 EST 1995


I find the decision of the Ontario cabinet to cancel the opening of the
Etobicoke level 4 containment laboratory to be absolutely appalling. There
is no question that the decision was based on emotional reasoning and
erroneous information and by individuals having no understanding of the
intended purpose of the containment laboratory. The Etobicoke laboratory
has not and will not be used for research with level 4 agents and was
never intended to be a research facility per se. The laboratory was
specifically designed as a containment facility to handle
specimens/patients in the event a disease outbreak occurs in Canada or an
individual arrives in Canada and is known, or suspected to be, infected
with a known, or perhaps unknown, level 4 agent. The Etobicoke containment
laboratory could well remain unused - forever - except for the required
practice drills (with innocuous agents). As it now stands, there is no
certified containment facility in Canada where level 4 agents can be
safely handled. The new Agriculture Canada/Health Canada level 4
laboratory under construction in Winnipeg is not scheduled to open until
1997 at the earliest. Contrary to oft-stated opinion, the Canadian Forces
DO NOT have a level 4 containment facility. 

R G Marusyk
Past-President, Canadian Society of Microbiologists
Former President & Director, Canadian College of Microbiologists
Incoming Chair, Biological and Chemical Defense Review Committee, National
Defense Canada

Dr R G Marusyk
Department of Medical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta Canada T6G 2H7
E: raymond.marusyk at ualberta.ca

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