On February 9, the BCU team co-hosted a symposium on transportation for patients with highly infectious diseases at the American Society of Microbiology Biothreats Conference in Washington, DC. During the symposium, David Drewry from the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) presented exciting new data from research that was conducted on the BCU. APL has developed a method to track fluorescent particles that are dispersed by a “cough machine” in order to better understand modes of disease transmission. Preliminary data confirmed the safety of the BCU air handling system in preventing spread of particles outside of the patient care space. This innovative methodology will improve safety in high containment care by testing existing systems and by encouraging innovative environmental and behavioral approaches that minimize the risk of contamination. Following the meeting, the BCU hosted the directors of the national biocontainment units of Germany (Alex Uhrig) and Sweden (David Ekqvist) for a day at Hopkins. We are looking forward to continued international collaborations with Alex, David and their teams.
The BCU would like to say a special thank you this month to Mike Iati, the lead architect who spearheaded the design and construction of the unit. Mike retired this week after more than 30 years at Hopkins. He truly was the most interesting man at Hopkins, and might in fact be the most interesting man in the world. Thanks Mike for being an incredible colleague and friend! You will be greatly missed.
Stay tuned for exciting upcoming BCU spring events including a visit to the United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in March, an international transportation drill in April and our annual site visit from the National Ebola Treatment and Education Center (NETEC) in May.
-Brian Garibaldi, Associate Director of the BCU