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02 March 2010
New Zealand's ability to manage a major disease outbreak was strengthened today
with the opening of a new multipurpose facility at the National Centre for Biosecurity
and Infectious Disease (NCBID) at Wallaceville, Upper Hutt.
The facility provides a centralised coordination and emergency response centre
for both animal and human disease outbreaks, biosecurity investigations and also
chemical and biological threats and events.
MAF Biosecurity New Zealand Director Investigation and Diagnostics Hugh Davies
says this collaborative effort brings together the Environmental Science and Research
(ESR) lab facilities, MAF's Investigation and Diagnostic Centre, AsureQuality's
tuberculin unit and AgResearch's Infectious Disease Diagnostic team.
"It now means that response management staff, sourced from a number of agencies
can work closely with NCBID epidemiologists and laboratory staff under one roof.
"The facility, which includes a response centre, seminar room, cafeteria and
campus administration area, will significantly increase New Zealand's capability
to safeguard human and animal health and to protect the economy."
ESR Chief Executive Dr John Hay said the centre has proved to be a very wise
and timely investment.
"The scientific expertise and facilties clustered at Wallaceville, were pivotal
to New Zealand's ability to respond to the H1N1 influenza pandemic. ESR's National
Influenza Centre scientific staff were joined by staff from MAF and AgResearch in
the pandemic response, realizing the national centre's original vision of providing
a comprehensive scientific coordination and emergency response centre to emerging
AgResearch Chief Executive Dr Andrew West said the facility is a big step forward
- "this scientific and operational collaboration is important for human and livestock
health. It's good to be a founding partner and in for the long haul."
The NCBID - Wallaceville project had its beginnings back in 2005 when funding
was made available. Establishing the centre has been a joint effort between many
parts of the local community and the scientific institutions already on site at