W. Ron DeHaven, chief executive officer and executive vice president of the American Veterinary Medical Association and a former administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, offers the following comments on the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility.
“For more than 60 years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in
“The CDC has rightfully gained international recognition for the monumental results it has achieved in public health, results that have saved countless lives in the
“Today, there is an urgent need to take the highly successful CDC model for human disease diagnostics and research and apply it to animal disease diagnostics and research that will preserve a safe, healthy food supply and a sustainable, successful agriculture infrastructure. It also will provide for critically important protection against animal diseases and zoonotic diseases, which are those traded between humans and animals.
“An effort to meet this need with a new facility is already under way. The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF, will have the critical mission of diagnosing and developing vaccines and countermeasures for treating, controlling and eradicating disease threats such as foot-and-mouth disease and African swine fever.
“Whether introduced into our nation's food supply intentionally or naturally, these dangerous diseases would have a devastating impact on our country if we are not properly prepared. Indeed, reports such as "World at Risk," released last year by former Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., and Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., have highlighted the serious threat of a terrorist attack on our country using biological weapons.
“That is where the NBAF comes in.
“A new NBAF will bring our animal disease research capabilities into the 21st century. The new facility will provide urgently needed advanced laboratories and a cadre of world-class scientists highly focused on an animal disease research mission designed specifically to safeguard
“As has happened at the CDC, the NBAF will attract some of the best and brightest scholars from across the nation and around the world. These scientists will collaborate, innovate and publish. They will develop technologies and medicines that will spin out of the laboratory and into the marketplace.