Review of Updated NBAF Risk Assessment to Release June 15
A new congressionally requested report from the National Research Council evaluates an updated U.S. Department of Homeland Security assessment of the risks associated with operating the proposed National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) in Manhattan, Kan. The report will be released during a one-hour telephone news conference on June 15.
The proposed NBAF would be the world's fourth Biosafety Level 4 laboratory capable of large animal research, replacing the aging Plum Island Animal Disease Center located off Long Island. It would study dangerous foreign animal diseases -- including highly contagious foot-and-mouth disease, which affects cattle, pigs, deer, and other cloven-hoofed animals -- as well as emerging and new infectious diseases that can be transmitted between animals and people. In 2010 the Research Council reviewed the original site-specific risk assessment by DHS and found that it was inadequate due to flawed methods and assumptions. In response, Congress mandated that DHS revise its assessment to address shortcomings and directed the Research Council to evaluate the updated assessment.
The report limits its findings to the adequacy and validity of the updated assessment, and is not evaluating the location of NBAF. Another Research Council committee, whose work is separate from this report, is examining the needs and possible scientific alternatives for a foreign animal and zoonotic disease research laboratory in the U.S.
Advance copies of Evaluation of the updated Site-Specific Risk Assessment for the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas will be available to reporters only beginning at 3 p.m. EDT Thursday, June 14. The report is embargoed and not for public release before 11 a.m. EDT on June 15. Members of the expert committee that wrote the report will discuss their conclusions during a telephone news conference beginning at 11 a.m. EDT on June 15.
Reporters: To obtain an embargoed copy and receive the call-in information for the telephone news conference, contact the Office of News and Public Information; tel. 202-334-2138 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.