The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today broke ground to officially begin construction of the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) main laboratory structure in Manhattan, Kansas.
When completed and fully operational in 2022, the $1.25 billion NBAF will be a 570,000 sq.ft, biocontainment facility for the study of foreign animal and emerging zoonotic diseases that threaten animal agriculture and public health in the U.S.
“The NBAF laboratory will provide the nation with cutting edge, state-of-the-art, lab capabilities and help protect our food supply and the nation’s public health,” said DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson. “NBAF addresses a serious vulnerability. The economic impact of a bio agricultural threat – deliberate or natural – could have a substantial effect on the food supply of this Nation and have serious human health consequences.
NBAF will replace the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC) in New York, providing capabilities that exceed those of PIADC. Specifically, NBAF will boast a maximum biocontainment (ABSL-4) laboratory space. The first laboratory facility in the United States of its kind, this facility will allow researchers to study zoonotic diseases that affect livestock and other large animals.
Underscoring the need for this research is the knowledge that approximately 75 percent of new and emerging infectious diseases over the last 30 years have been zoonotic diseases.
Similar to the work at PIADC, NBAF will be a strategic national asset, providing modern laboratory space for DHS and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to carry out their unique yet complementary missions. The key functions of the NBAF laboratory space will include basic research, sample receipt testing and diagnosis, veterinarian training, countermeasures and vaccine candidate development, and vaccine efficacy trials.