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Officials Break Ground On Biodefense Facility

by Glenn Hess
June 8, 2015 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 93, Issue 23

The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), a $1.25 billion animal disease research lab in Kansas, will fill a vital role in protecting the U.S. food supply, federal officials said at a groundbreaking ceremony. When completed and fully operational by 2022, the biocontainment facility will conduct research on a variety of deadly diseases that affect livestock and other large animals, including foot-and-mouth disease. Located near the campus of Kansas State University in Manhattan, the facility will be the nation’s only biosafety Level 4 lab, which means it will be secure enough to handle pathogens that do not currently have treatments or countermeasures. “The economic impact of a bioagricultural threat—deliberate or natural—could have a substantial effect on the food supply and have serious human health consequences,” says Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh C. Johnson. “We will soon be able to ensure availability of vaccines and other rapid response capabilities to curb an outbreak.” NBAF will replace the aging Plum Island Animal Disease Center, located near Long Island, N.Y.

An artist’s conception of the  National Bio & Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kan.
Credit: Department of Homeland Security
An artist’s conception of the National Bio & Agro-Defense Facility under construction in Manhattan, Kan.


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