The proposed National Bio and Agrodefense Facility (NBAF) will primarily research foreign animal diseases, such as avian flu and foot and mouth disease, along with potential agents that could affect humans, bioterrorism, and to develop countermeasures such as drugs and vaccines. Multiple consortiums (including Mississippi, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia) will compete for the federal research laboratory by making a proposal to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
NBAF will replace and enhance the capabilities of the aging and increasingly costly Plum Island Animal Disease Center on Long Island; the Plum Island facility was built in the 1950s. NBAF will also include research partnerships with the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the United States currently lacks the capability to study high consequence zoonotic diseases in large animals and human models. Zoonotic diseases are diseases such as avian flu, carried by animals that can infect humans.
NBAF will: • utilize 500,000 square feet of enclosed laboratory space on about 150 acres • employ approximately 400 people, including more than 200 scientists as well as technicians and support staff • be a $500 million construction project • provide an average salary of approximately $75,000 per year • have a total payroll of approximately $30.5 million per year • have a Biosafety Level 4 (BL-4) designation—the nation’s highest rating
(Currently, the University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, and the University of Mississippi Medical Center already have BL-3 laboratories. The Centers for Disease Control in downtown Atlanta is a BL-4 facility)
The following partners are working to bring NBAF to Mississippi: • Governor Haley Barbour • Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) • Members of Mississippi’s Congressional Delegation – Senator Thad Cochran – Senator Trent Lott – Congressman Chip Pickering – Congressman Bennie Thompson – Congressman Roger Wicker • Metro Jackson Chamber of Commerce • Metro Jackson Economic Development Alliance • a research consortium that includes: – The University of Mississippi-School of Pharmacy – Mississippi State University-College of Veterinary Medicine) – University of Mississippi Medical Center – Jackson State University
– Battelle Memorial Institute
Based on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s criteria, the following three potential sites for the facility are: • Hinds County near Byram • Madison County near Flora
• Rankin County near Brandon
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s major site selection criteria are: • access to university research and facilities • location near an international airport • quality of life for top scientific researchers including housing, schools, cultural events, recreation and entertainment
• ability to support and absorb a major research institution
Timeline: • final expressions of interest (EOIs) from applicants are due to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security by March 31, 2006 • the list of possible locations will be announced by early fall of 2006 • final site selection will occur in 2007 • construction will begin in 2008
• construction should be completed in 2012
NBAF will have multiple positive impacts on the Metro Jackson area: • in addition to construction, at least $30 million per year in federal funding • attract businesses to support the facility • prompt a biotech industry in the area
• bring a highly educated workforce to the area
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