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Tuesday, April 16th, 2024

Sandia National Labs recognized for efforts in combating Ebola epidemic in West Africa

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently recognized Sandia National Laboratories for its efforts in combating the 2014-2016 Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic in West Africa.

To address issues facing West African patients during the epidemic, Sandia researchers examined Liberia’s blood sample transport system from treatment units to diagnostic labs to expedite turnaround time for faster diagnoses. This practice reduced the amount of time patients spent waiting in large open waiting rooms, which helped control the spread of the disease.

The laboratory also provided a model for quarantining patients, while also influencing where new diagnostic labs could be located, providing expedited care for patients in rural areas in Liberia.

“The epidemic brought a lot of aid and attention to the public health systems in West Africa,” Jen Gaudioso, senior manager of Sandia’s International Biological Threat Reduction project, said. “Sandia hopes to help build on that momentum to provide a sustainable and resilient health infrastructure that is ready for future infectious disease outbreaks.”

DOE’s Chief Scientist Dimitri Kusnezov visited the laboratory to recognize approximately 60 Sandia researchers for their work during the epidemic, along with their work on the Technology Convergence Working Group.

Established in 2015 to provide technical expertise for biological technologies, the group is comprised of representatives from both the DoE, Sandia, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

“It is a great honor for Sandia’s wide-ranging biological work to be recognized by the secretary of energy,” Duane Lindner, director of Sandia’s Homeland Security Program, said. “I personally appreciate this recognition of our contributions to the nation.”