More than 100 Capitol Hill lawmakers and staff attended an AVMA-hosted educational briefing this month on a new biosafety facility that will study important zoonotic diseases affecting large livestock.
The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) will enable the United States to conduct comprehensive research, develop vaccines, and provide enhanced diagnostic and training capabilities to protect against foreign animal, emerging, and zoonotic diseases. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) facility will focus on high-consequence animal pathogens such as foot and mouth disease and African swine fever, as well as zoonotic diseases. It's designated as a biosafety level 3 and 4 facility – the highest levels of biosecurity.
The September 16 briefing was held virtually and presented by AVMA and the National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research. NBAF Director Dr. Alfonso Clavijo explained the new facility’s importance as part of an integrated system addressing foreign animal diseases and zoonotic disease threats.
The briefing raised awareness of the importance of the nation’s animal health infrastructure and emphasized the need for a coordinated, One Health approach to safeguard animal agriculture, the economy, and public health.
Construction of the new facility is underway in Manhattan, Kansas, and estimated to be completed sometime in 2021. There is no firm completion date due to COVID-19.