Mexico has secured the first next-generation advanced mobile biocontainment laboratory in Latin America. The laboratory on wheels was designed by Germfree, a U.S. manufacturer that works closely with the U.S. Army on field laboratory technology development.
The inaugural lab is being stationed in the state of Tabasco and offers new early warning capabilities for use in remote regions. “This unit provides mobile epidemiological surveillance for our state public health labs, now allowing them to access difficult areas when there is a disaster or outbreak,” according to Dr. Celia Alpuche Aranda, director of InDRE, Mexico’s counterpart to the CDC. “This laboratory is the first in Mexico and Latin America that provides this level of biosafety and biosecurity in a mobile unit.”
The lab represents a new generation of technology being utilized on the front lines of international public health surveillance. Many regions of Mexico are particularly vulnerable to diseases such as Dengue fever after torrential rains or flooding. Deploying a mobile unit directly into the affected area significantly lowers the time needed to detect and contain a prospective epidemic.
Several regions of Mexico are acutely susceptible to diseases such as Dengue fever after torrential rains or flooding. Having a mobile unit to send into the distressed area radically reduces the time needed to identify and contain a potential epidemic. “This mobile laboratory is a significant advancement for public health, providing early surveillance of potential outbreaks,” says Olga Pina Gutierrez, Director of the Tabasco State Public Health Lab.
Originally built for defense missions, the mobile laboratories created by Germfree increasingly support a range of other applications including Public Health Laboratories, Environmental Agencies, All Hazard Receipt Facilities, Departments of Agriculture and Veterinary Health, First Responders, Law Enforcement and other Security Agencies. Germfree Mobile units are also used for CBRN sampling and analysis at high profile events such as International Summits, Inaugurations and the Olympics. The company has similarly provided bio-containment labs to remote regions in Asia and Africa.