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PHILADELPHIA-Among the state grants being funded by the $37-million federal grant awarded to Pennsylvania for terrorism-preparedness efforts is an award of $905,900 to the Allegheny County Health Department for construction of a lab to test for potentially bio-hazardous substances. The lab will be built next to the Clack Health Center in Lawrenceville, PA.

It will be equipped to conduct secure tests of bio-hazardous materials and provide a back-up facility to the existing State Health Laboratory in Lionville, PA in Chester County. The Lionville lab screened samples for anthrax during 2001.

An additional $1 million from the federal funds was awarded to Allegheny County for disease surveillance and public health preparedness.

Meanwhile, the University of Pittsburgh was awarded a three-year, $6-million state grant to develop and test a bioterrorism surveillance system. Pitt will work with Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Mellon University and Nuremburg, Germany-based Siemens Medical Solutions Health Services on a system that will scan for biohazardous materials and substances.

Once the system is developed, it will be deployed in Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Philadelphia. The Pitt grant is funded by money the state received through a tobacco settlement.

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