Efforts to protect the nation from potentially catastrophic animal diseases — some of which are transmissible to humans — will continue with a $21 million package from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to Texas A&M University and Kansas State University.

The funds will support the Homeland Security Department’s Center of Excellence for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense at the universities through 2016.

Based at Texas A&M, the National Center for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense, or FAZD Center, has led a consortium of universities and institutions in efforts aimed at protecting American agriculture and public health since 2004.

During the next six years, the FAZD Center will co-lead the homeland security department’s zoonotic and animal disease program with the Kansas State University’s Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases.

The researchers will focus their efforts in the following four areas over the next six years:

  • Development of vaccines to counter diseases that could cause catastrophic human illness or seriously impact the economy. 
  • Development of rapid diagnostic methods for identification and detection of foreign animal, emerging and/or zoonotic diseases. 
  • Development of models to simulate disease spread and impact.
  • Development of educational programs designed to train first responders and producers in recognition and control of these diseases.

More information.

Source: Texas A&M University