Army secretary tours Fort Detrick laboratory

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  1. Flower

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    Jan 5, 2021
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    The secretary of the Army visited Fort Detrick on Thursday in order to learn more about the work being done to combat COVID-19.

    In a biosafety level 3 laboratory, a scientist with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases worked with a sample of a new coronavirus, officially called SARS-CoV-2.

    USAMRIID received a sample of the virus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Kathleen Gibson, chief of the Core Laboratory Services Division at USAMRIID.
    Researchers at the laboratory are cultivating the virus in order to have enough for future tests and other needs. That can include making sure a test result is correct. At USAMRIID, the virus is multiplied, purified and then divided among projects, Gibson said.

    USAMRIID is part of the Laboratory Response Network, which means it can test samples in a diagnostic capacity, she said.

    USAMRIID and the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command, which oversees the laboratory, are two tools in the fight against COVID-19, an “extraordinary challenge,” said Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy at a press conference after his tour.

    There will be an infusion of funding for the Army to help address COVID-19, McCarthy said.

    Some of that money will likely go toward research conducted at USAMRIID and other units under USAMRDC, such as the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.

    “The heroes in this fight are going to be some of the people we saw today,” said Gen. James C. McConville, Army chief of staff.

    While there was an infusion of funding going toward COVID-19, and USAMRDC will receive some, $104 million in funding is still being withheld from USAMRIID and the U.S. Army Research Institute of Chemical Defense at Aberdeen Proving Ground, said Brig. Gen. Michael Talley, USAMRDC commander.

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