At 12:00 pm, the Meeting Critical Laboratory Needs for Animal Agriculture: Examination of Three Options report was released concerning the future of NBAF and the options that the committee on Analysis of the Requirements and Alternatives for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory Capabilities looked into.
Though repeatedly stated, the committee did not make any recommendation as to which direction should be taken, their job was just to study and look at the alternative options.
During the teleconference with committee members, they discussed the three different options.
The three options as stipulated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security were: constructing NBAF as designed, constructing a “scaled-back” version of NBAF, and maintaining current capabilities at Plum Island Animal Disease Center with extensions to foreign facilities.
Because Plum Island does not have the capabilities to become a large animal Biosafety Level 4 facility, the options to keep NBAF or to go for a smaller scaled version were discussed with more detail.
Terry McElwain, chair of the committee, said that the “scaled back” version could be done and meet the requirements of a Level 4 facility, the financial implications are not known at this time.
The report gives an extensive look at the pros and cons of each of the options, but does not give a direct path as to what will be done or the future of NBAF.
It is our hope that the teleconference can be heard on our On Demand section later today.
Reaction to Friday’s National Research Council Committee report regarding NBAF continues to come in with Ron Trewyn, Vice President for Research at Kansas State obviously pleased with the findings after several years of work. Trewyn indicates he’s optimistic that things will move ahead now. Trewyn says while a slightly scaled down version was talked about, it’s time to move forward.
However Trewyn cautions there probably won’t be follow-up action on funding until after the election.
Trewyn adds the matter has been “studied to death.” Trewyn describes the National Research Council Committee report as very good, especially in regard to partnerships recommended.