Video transcript: Animal virus research: an amazing new laboratory

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January 2012

Video scans exterior of IS4L building

Dr Michael Johnson, Head of Pirbright lab, IAH
The building behind us the IS4L building will allow our scientists to do work under the highest level of containment. This means we can work on pathogens such as foot and mouth disease, African swine flu, African horse sickness in a building that has layers of projection before anything could happen in terms of release of virus to the environment. It is important to have these very high engineering standards in building we have the highest level of our control systems,...

Video scans the high-end equipment inside the lab, using multiple windows

...we have the best type of seal ability of the building that is available for current technology and I think in this building here we've actually incorporated some world leading design features. We need high containment facilities to ensure that the work that is done on pathogens both the existing ones we have as part of our research portfolio but also have the preparedness for what might come next. If you look at what has happened in the world in the last 10 years 80% of all new pathogens that come into existent and they have affected human population has all arisen out of animals and that means probably that same process will continue to occur and this laboratory means that we have the best facility available to be able to answer those questions when they occur.

Video scans the vast air intake rooms, using multiple windows, also showing measuring equipment

One of the key systems that we have in the building is our air handling system this is a critical part of the engineering standard that we have in the building which consists of an air intake into the rooms that we then have graded pressures insides the rooms such that if anything happens inside the room the virus or any pathogen is then extracted out through a series of other filters and what we have in the terms of our secondary monitoring system is the ability to be able to integrate this system in real time and this is important because we want to know if there is a slow failure of any systems let alone a rapid failure but if there is a slow failure of a system then we can intervene and we can do something about it well before there is any potential release of virus to the environment.

Video shows the building site where the large new laboratory is in construction, from different viewpoints

This part of the development programme is to replace our existing infrastructure here with a brand new laboratory this is currently under construction and will be completed in the early part of 2014. At the same time we have a second phase development programme which is about moving our avian diseases programme from Compton to Pirbright. This will consist of a number of new animal research facilities and laboratories that will ensure that by 2015-16 we will have everything consolidated on one site and we will have brand new infrastructure that will see the institutes work through from probably the next 15 or 20 years.

Video shows the IAH sign at Pirbright followed by views of their incubator and cleaning facilities

The work here done at the Institute for Animal Health will benefit global food security. It will help in terms of the science that we do to provide the best basic research and the best development into vacancies that we could possibly do to ensure that the UK will be protected from incursions but the added benefit is that this work will help many developing nations who have quite severe problems with animal disease and so the diagnostics work here and combined with the vaccine development work here should in effect make sure that those economics are better suited to be able to feed themselves in the future and that we have a better animal health system overall globally.