Maximum Containment Infectious Disease Laboratories as an Integral Part of Emergency Preparedness and Emergency Response

  • Sarah Carpenter
  • Nahid BhadeliaEmail author


Maximum containment [biosafety level 4 (BSL-4)] laboratories offer unique opportunities for research on emerging infectious diseases. Though maximum containment laboratories contribute to some of the seminal research on viral haemorrhagic fevers, very little has been written about the roles of these laboratories in infectious disease outbreaks response and preparedness. Drawing on interviews and data coming from maximum containment laboratories, the authors elucidate the complex roles of maximum containment laboratories in infectious disease outbreaks, using the recent 2013–2016 Ebola virus disease epidemic to highlight these functions. The first three sections define terms, discuss the unique research produced at maximum containment laboratories, and consider the barriers to operating these facilities. The next section focuses on the role of maximum containment institutions in capacity-building and surveillance as a part of emergency preparedness prior to the outbreak of an epidemic. Subsequently, the authors examine the function of these laboratories in emergency response as sources of subject matter expertise and as contributors to on-the-ground mobile laboratory systems. The chapter concludes with recommendations for improved collaboration between maximum containment laboratories themselves as well as between the laboratories and resource-limited countries most affected by the studied pathogens.


Maximum containment laboratory Biosafety level 4 Outbreak response Capacity building Mobile laboratory 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Boston University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  2. 2.Section of Infectious DiseasesBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA

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