Lugar applauds opening of Nunn-Lugar Bio-Threat Laboratory in Tbilisi, Georgia
Thursday, March 17, 2011
U.S. Senator Dick Lugar today hailed the latest advancement in protecting Americans against global biological risks through Nunn-Lugar Global. The Nunn-Lugar Central Public Health Research Laboratory is opening in Tbilisi, Georgia. Nunn-Lugar labs are critical for cooperative efforts to identify and report potentially deadly pathogens before they can spread.
“I am confident that the CPHRL will become a premier center for disease surveillance, reference, and research and advance the security of America, Georgia, and the world,” Lugar said. “It will also serve as a manifestation of America’s commitment to Georgia.”
Since groundbreaking for the CPHRL occurred in 2004, Senator Lugar has travelled to Tbilisi on numerous occasions to encourage development of this project. His most recent mission was in 2008, weeks after Russia’s invasion of Georgia.
“We cannot wait for threats to come to our shores,” Lugar said. “Nunn-Lugar projects make Americans safer, day by day, by working cooperatively with nations around the globe.”
The lab’s mission will be to promote infectious disease detection, epidemiological surveillance, and research for the benefit of the United States, Georgia, the Caucasus region, and the global community. It will expand knowledge of the Georgian and regional infectious disease baseline, promote international scientific diplomacy, and support the mission of intergovernmental organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
The CPHRL will establish a U.S. presence and attract world-renowned experts for on-site collaboration. The U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command (MRMC) has committed to maintaining a long-term presence at the facility to promote further scientific collaboration.
The CPHRL has been designed to meet U.S. Department of Defense and international norms for biosecurity, ensuring that it is well-protected against both insider and external threats. The CPHRL provides state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, and enables safe and secure access to Georgia’s national repository of infectious disease pathogens.
Senator Lugar is working to spread the work of Nunn-Lugar Global to address new threats in new locations. Building on Nunn-Lugar’s nearly 20 years of experience in helping secure WMD in the former Soviet States, Senator Lugar recently undertook a mission to engage Nunn-Lugar in East Africa.