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MRIGlobal to Deploy Mobile Labs to Sierra Leone

A technician sets up an assay for Ebola within a containment laboratory. Samples are handled in negative-pressure biological safety cabinets to provide an additional layer of protection. Credit: U.S. Army photo by Dr. Randal J. Schoepp

MRIGlobal has been awarded a contract to configure, equip, deploy and staff two quick response mobile laboratory systems (MLS) to support the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

The contract was awarded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) on behalf of the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program (CTR), and is valued at $4,000,000. If follow on tasks/options are exercised, the total value of the contract could reach approximately $11,000,000.

This contract will completely outfit, prepare for shipping and operations, operate and sustain two mobile diagnostic laboratories for deployment to Sierra Leone.

MRIGlobal will help meet an urgent need for laboratory and technical capacity to perform diagnostics on potential Ebola samples in the country. The lack of an adequate diagnostics capability directly results in the increased exposures and spread of the deadly virus.

The mobile laboratory units deployed by MRIGlobal will be appropriately outfitted to perform high volume lab testing with the appropriate biosafety controls in austere environments. Existing Department of Defense modular laboratory units were previously designed and configured MRI Global, uniquely positioning the organization to meet the call for a rapid custom re-configuration of these modular units for the mission in Sierra Leone.

“MRI Global is able to retrofit the units within a very aggressive timeline because of their familiarity with the units,” states the DTRA announcement. “In a matter of weeks, this contractor team will be required to deploy with the lab units and ready to operate these labs immediately upon arrivaI. There is Iittle to no “ramp up” time.”

The CDC has estimated that each infected patient infects on average nearly two additional people. The risk of exposure may be mitigated with the increased laboratory capacity, and the faster that these units can be deployed the greater the chance of slowing and containing the disease epidemic in Sierra Leone.

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