National bio-defense lab opens in Manhattan
MANHATTAN, Kan. Federal and state leaders gathered in Manhattan Wednesday to celebrate the opening of a new defense facility. It took more than a decade to see a ribbon cutting for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility solidify the completion of a project that’s been delayed.
The more-than-500,000-square-foot facility is tasked with protecting the nation’s agriculture, specifically against the impact of severe animal disease. Federal officials picked Manhattan, Kan. out of 18 potential sites.
Kansas State University President Dr. Richard Linton said the facility is unlike any in the world.
“Up until now, our scientists had to rely on other countries’ facilities to study high-consequence zoonotic diseases that affected large livestock,” he said.
Dr. Linton said he expects scientists to soon start looking into some of the most problematic livestock diseases like hoof and mouth disease, classic swine fever, African swine fever, and Rift Valley fever.
Once fully operational, the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) will employ about 400 people and will bring in about 40 other businesses and labs.
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly further addressed what the facility’s presence in Manhattan means for the state.
“This is a monumental day for our state,” Kelly said. “This $1.25 billion lab, the only one of its kind in the country, will put us on the front lines of making the entire country and the world safer, healthier, and more resilient.”
The lab in Manhattan, Kan. replaces a 68-year-old facility in New York.
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