Clay Center, KS- An National Bio & Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) representative came to the Clay Center Lions meeting to provide information and answer questions regarding the NBAF at the Clay County Museum. After a 3-year selection process, Manhattan, Kansas became home for the NBAF. The NBAF will replace Massachusetts’ Plum Island Animal Disease Center, a bio safety level -3 facility that is more than 65 years old. Manhattan was chosen because it’s on the edge of what they call, “The Kansas City Animal Health Corridor” which stretches from St. Joseph, Columbia, 150 miles to the western edge of Manhattan.
And according to Daniel Garas, the NBAF Coordinator, NBAF is working to fulfill the mission of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) by conducting foreign animal disease research, develop vaccines and anti-viral, training, and diagnostics at this center.
Garas goes on and says that more than 70% of the new and emerging infectious disease are humans to zoonotic and that currently there are only four other countries that have the capability to study large live stock, and as of yet, the United States isn’t one of them.
So, what are some of the things NBAF is going to be researched?
NBAF will host the Foot and mouth vaccine bank at their facility.
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) foreign animal disease diagnostic laboratory is one of the four national veterinary service labs with the USDA and focuses on the prevention, surveillance, and diagnostic response manages two vaccine banks at NBAF and trains US and international veterinarians in diagnostics.
And according to Garas, the Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (FADDL) is the only place that can give a confirmation diagnosis when it comes to a sick or dead animal.
Construction is currently completed on the NBAF and they are in a commissioning process where they are adjusting levels of air pressures in the laboratory. The next step is accreditation. Garas said that they are anticipating a complete transition from the Plum Island facility to the NBAF by the end of 2024.
As of the December 2021 numbers, 46% of those that are hired are veterans, with 31% being retired with 20 or more years, and 4% of those are currently serving as reservists. If you have an interest in working at the NBAF, you can visit www.USAjobs.gov.
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