Infectious disease experts from 18 U.S. federal agencies and academic institutions recently met at Texas A&M University to discuss collaboration to fight emerging viruses, bacteria and other pathogens threatening the economy. agriculture, food supply, wildlife and public health of the country.
The workshop marked the first meeting of members of RAV3N – Research Alliance for Veterinary Science and BSL-3 Biodefense Network – a national network of biosafety level 3 laboratories engaged in biodefense research for infectious animal diseases . RAV3N receives financial support from the USDA. The Global Health Research Complex (GHRC) at Texas A&M University serves as the network’s headquarters.
“Our workshop focused primarily on determining how federal and academic laboratories across the United States can cooperate to improve our ability to detect and respond to emerging pathogens,” said GHRC Director, Kurt Zuelke. “We also thought about how to improve the development of countermeasures that will help slow or stop the spread of these pathogens and the diseases they cause.”
RAV3N formed in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, which delayed the group’s first meeting until August 23-25, 2022. Representatives from all 18 members attended the three-day workshop, 15 in person and three virtually.
RAV3N membership includes six laboratories belonging to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and two of its agencies, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Agricultural Research Service (ARS): the USDA National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Kansas; the USDA-ARS National Animal Disease Center and the USDA-APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories, both located in Iowa; the USDA-APHIS Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Iowa and New York; the USDA-ARS Foreign Animal Disease Research Unit in New York; the USDA-APHIS National Wildlife Research Center in Colorado; and the USDA-ARS Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory in Georgia.
Federal level members also include the US Department of Homeland Security’s Plum Island Animal Disease Center in New York; Georgia Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Pathogens and High Consequence Conditions; the US Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center in Wisconsin; and the Rocky Mountain Laboratories of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Montana.
In addition to the GHRC at Texas A&M, academic members include the Galveston National Laboratory of the University of Texas Medical Branch; the Ohio State University Plant and Animal Agrosecurity Research Facility; the University of Missouri Infectious Diseases Research Laboratory; Kansas State University Biosafety Research Institute; the Center for Infectious Disease Research at Colorado State University; and the National Laboratory for Emerging Infectious Diseases at Boston University.
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