Obama Seeks $260M Boost for Protecting African Disease Labs

The Obama administration has requested $260 million in fiscal 2012 funding to bolster protective measures at African research sites that house lethal disease agents, the Examiner reported on Sunday (see GSN, April 14).

The Defense Department funding would be used to safeguard against extremist infiltration facilities in Kenya, Uganda and elsewhere that hold potential biological-weapon agents such as anthrax, Ebola and Rift Valley fever.

U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) expressed concern over protective measures at African biological laboratories during visits to a number of the facilities in November. He noted that one site had a "short concrete wall topped with barbed wire as the only security barrier."

An animal laboratory in Uganda included shattered windows and breached chain-link fencing.

Fiscal 2012 begins on October 1 (Robert Herriman, Examiner, April 17).

Meanwhile, lawmakers last week endorsed a fiscal 2011 continuing budget resolution with $40 million to enable initial assembly of the planned National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility near Manhattan, Kan., the Kansas City Business Journal reported on Friday (see GSN, Dec. 20, 2010). The center, intended for studying virulent animal-borne pathogens, is slated to begin research operations in 2018 (David Twiddy, Kansas City Business Journal, April 15).

April 19, 2011
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The Obama administration has requested $260 million in fiscal 2012 funding to bolster protective measures at African research sites that house lethal disease agents, the Examiner reported on Sunday (see GSN, April 14).