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Independent review of the highest level microbiological containment facilities in the UK

Visit Defra website Medical Research Council website Visit Heath Protection Agency website

27 November 2008

The independent review of the Highest Level Microbiological Containment Facilities in the UK led by Professor George Griffin is published today.

The aim of the review was to assess the UK’s capability in high level containment, both in terms of facilities and skills base, in order to provide guidance on whether capabilities, current and planned, will continue to meet the UK needs. This is key if the UK is to continue to protect the public against the most dangerous human and animal pathogens.

The review’s steering committee included representatives from:

  • Department of Health
  • Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
  • Defra
  • Medical Research Council (MRC)
  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
  • Health Protection Agency

Steve Chatfield, from the Health Protection Agency’s Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response, welcomed the review. "It has proved very useful in informing us on how we can maintain and secure our research and diagnostic capacity so that we are able to respond to any emerging disease threat, animal or human. The Health Protection Agency and its Steering Committee partners are grateful to Professor Griffin for his expert leadership in this review process."

The Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council, Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, said: "This review highlights the importance of these facilities and stresses the need to maintain the capacity to enable work on important human, or potentially human, pathogens. It provides a very useful overview of all UK facilities capable of working at the highest level of microbial containment and gives welcome advice. The report emphasises the importance of maintaining these facilities in the UK to help us sustain the capacity to identify and fight dangerous infections safely."

The Chief Executive of BBSRC, Professor Douglas Kell, said: "The research community is indebted to Professor Griffin and the review team for their detailed and careful review, which will help all of us who are committed to maintaining the UK's capacity for research on economically and socially important diseases of humans and other animals.

External contact

Liz Morgan-Lewis, Head of Strategic Communications Planning: Emergency Preparedness and Response, Health Protection Agency

tel: 01980 612504 / 07834 311392