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Army drops plan for Fort Detrick animal biodefense lab

FREDERICK — The Army says it is dropping plans for a high-security animal laboratory at Fort Detrick in Frederick that would have been used for public and private research on some of the world’s deadliest pathogens.

Officials at Fort Detrick said Wednesday that the demand for such a facility is less than anticipated. They say the Army will expand its test and evaluation capabilities at existing facilities instead.

The Army announced plans for the $584 million project in August 2010. Last year, the National Academy of Sciences said it found flaws in the Army’s risk assessment for the facility.

The Army says scrapping the project will save taxpayers a billion dollars over the next 10 years.